Dr. Suresh Idnani, one of ICSW’s board members, was unanimously re-elected as President of International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) at the Annual General Meeting held on 8th september 2011 in Odessa, Ukraine.
This is his second tenure as President his first being 2009-2011. He was elected President with the support of 41 seafaring nations represented by Maritime health Physicians, representatives of national maritime authorities, Ship owner, Seafarers organizations and other stakeholders of the International Shipping Industry. IMHA has an active record of highlighting seafarers’ mental health needs in relation to maritime piracy. The IMHA Symposium in Odessa, Ukraine in September 2011 included a panel on the subject and initiated a new research programme into seafarers’ mental health. IMHA has also helped conduct a workshop on the humanitarian response to piracy in Mumbai, and is assisting in the planning of others within Asia. IMHA representatives have spoken at a number of conferences on the mental health aspect of the humanitarian response to piracy subject and collaborate closely with the MPHRP. Against this background, IMHA is likely to be central to formulating a successful, mental health strategy in relation to maritime piracy applicable across the industry. The International Maritime Health Association is the sole international association concerned exclusively with Maritime Health. We are an association of professionals from a wide range of disciplines who are committed to improving the health of seafarers by developing better approaches to health protection, health promotion and health treatment both locally and internationally. IMHA members undertake research to investigate the importance of different risks and the effectiveness of the interventions used to prevent or treat seafarer health problems. Research results are used to improve maritime health practice. Members keep in contact to ensure international co-operation and enable sharing of knowledge and evidence. IMHA’s members come from all continents and seek to secure better standards of maritime health by increasing scientific knowledge and ensuring ethical and equitable treatment. IMHA works closely with national maritime authorities, trade unions, employers and international organisations, and acts as a source of information for these and other organisations, institutions and individuals. On a local level, IMHA’s maritime health ambassadors act as the focus for local initiatives. The association produces a regular, members’ newsletter and organises a range of workshops, training events and symposia. IMHA aims to work for improvement in health and medical followup of all employees in the maritime industry; encourage scientific research in maritime health; promote the exchange of ideas and results from research projects; assist by providing maritime medical expertise for the preparation of reports and guidelines in the maritime field; promote the development of quality international medical services and systems in maritime sector; assist with the international coordination of maritime health initiatives; and encourage and facilitate education and training on maritime health. Dr Suresh Idnani 11th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON MARITIME HEALTH – 2011 Summarizing Report and Conclusions of Sessions and Workshops by Dr. Bernd-Fred Schepers The 11th International Symposium on Maritime Health took place in Odessa, Ukraine, 6-10 September 2011. It was organized under the Chairmanship of Professor Anatoliy Gozhenko, Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute for Medicine of Transport, and his national Organizing Committee with special support by the International Maritime Health Association, the International Labour organization, the International Christian Maritime Association, the International Transport Worker’s Federation, the Marine Transport Worker’s Trade Union of Ukraine, the Local Black Sea Trade Union of Seafarers, the Odessa Regional State Administration, the Municipality of Odessa and several other organizations. The impressing official opening ceremony took place on Wednesday morning, September 7th, 2011, musically framed in the splendid Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theater. The participants were welcomed by the Governor of the Odessa Region, the Mayor of the City of Odessa, the Chief of Ukrainian State Service for Sanitary and Epidemiology and the IMHA President Dr.Suresh Idnani. Odessa National Opera and Ballet theater During the following days of the symposium (7-9 September) under the slogan of the meeting “Maritime Medicine – an international Challenge” – partly in parallel sessions and workshops in various rooms of the City Hall – about 90 presentations were given. Additionally there was a Poster Session in the City Hall with a rich international blend of maritime health topics. Within this summarizing report it is not possible to appreciate all presentations.
The main topics were:
•International Collaboration in Maritime Health,
•Seamen’s Health Promotion,
•Emergency on Board/Cardiac Events
•HIV/AIDS in Maritime Industry,
•Quality Improvement in Maritime Health,
•The Problem of Piracy in Modern Shipping,
•Mental Health on Board,
•Digital Technologies in Maritime Medicine,
•Selection Bias in Seafaring,
•ILO MLC 2006 – Training.
Several Chairmen provided written summaries and conclusions of the sessions or workshops they chaired:
Dr. Alf Magne Horneland summarised the Session on “Emergency on Board/Cardiac Events” as follows:
● Prof. Jaremin from Poland emphasized that cardiovascular diseases remain the main cause of disembarkation,hospitalization, loss of fitness for work and sudden death on board. One should consider using CVD risk assessment as a tool in
the medical examination of seafarers, not only for the selection of seafarers, but for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and prophylactic intervention.
● Dr. Polyakov from Ukraine suggested that CRP should be considered used for the risk assessment for acute coronary events
during the medical examinations.
● Prof. Bronstein focussed on the early repolarization aspect as a part of medical risk assessment.
Several of the presentations regarded the use of AED on board ships. Presentations from the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and USA discussed the use of AEDs on ships. So far, evidence is lacking regarding the benefits and the cost-benefit relationship. It seems that conclusions are about to be drawn in the different countries, and some shipowners have already installed AEDs on their ships. In the discussion it was demanded that the rationale should include cost-benefit analysis, to see how available money can gain most health and save most lives. The discussion could probably have lasted for the rest of the day, but was stopped due to time limitation.
The experience from the plenary session on Cardiac events at sea emphasized the importance of more extensive discussions, probably in a separate workshop, which should produce a position paper regarding how to avoid, how to prevent and how to treat cardiac diseases on board. Prof. Bogdan Jaremin summarised the Session “Mental Health on Board” – with 2.5 hours one of the longest during the symposium.
This session was related to the main stream of problems having the highest importance for the maritime community. The diversified problems and source of risks, proposed strategy and outcomes showed at the same time that there are still huge challenge, waiting for optimal solution and effective prevention. The speakers, from 5 countries concentrated on suicides and auto-agression, addictions, stress and PTS disorders calling for the internationally accepted standards of diagnosis, prophylaxis and methods of prevention. The gaps in exchange of information, the lack of longterm observation and longitudinal studies, as well as uncertain methods and means of prevention have been identified as the main obstacles to progress. The better pre-employment diagnosis, training in stress management, the international net of cooperation in PTSD care were postulated, especially when concerning victims of piracy and depressive/or alcohol addicted seafarers. The figures, illustrating the suicide rate and/or victims of terrorism urge the employers, trade unions, researchers and practitioners to make common effort to reduce the human losses at sea and improve safety at maritime work. The problem of “missing at sea” was proposed as an important problem for discussion. The other problems, which attracted the attention of listeners, were related to the results of psychological studies on psychological, social and physiological features and personal characteristic, deciding about the possibility and efficiency of making a professional career at sea. Authors of presentations, using newest psychological tests, tried to predict the successful performance and ability of officers and crew to react on the challenges at sea work environment. Their use and place in the pre-employment examination of fitness or during the educational and periodic training at sea was postulated as valuable tool of feed-back intervention. The perceived quality of life and satisfaction from working at sea were considered important factor contributing to wellbeing. Thus, the promotion of health at sea has to address psychological and psychosocial issues. Dr. Nebojsa Nikolic summarised the Workshop “HIV/AIDS in Maritime Industry” whose participants were invited to discuss the current status of Global Partnership Project on HIV and Mobile Workers in the Maritime Sector: At the workshop a current overview of the project was presented and discussed. It was concluded that it is very important to have the buying in and ownership from all stakeholders in the Philippines where the Pilot Project was planned. The Manila meeting should come out with an ad-hoc local coordination team with a focal point until we get the full project funding to hire staff. Once the coordination team is formed early in the meeting then the team, in consultation with other stakeholders try to come out with a set of priority activities that need to be done now. The priority activities need to be from the project proposal and not separate from it. The workshop was also attended by Iryna Nahona from the German “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit” (GIZ) who is planning to launch a maritime workplace HIV programme in Ukraine. She presented her project and its current status. All the members present in the meeting showed keen interest to work with the GIZ in their initiative and to propose to all members of the Global Partnership the possible inclusion of the GIZ as technical partner and also share GP proposal with them. Dr. Sally Bell summarised the well attended and productive Workshop on “IMHA Quality Improvement in Maritime Health”: The background to the programme, the development and piloting of the standards, training of assessors and the accreditation process itself were briefly presented, and a useful discussion ensued. All who wish to express an interest or sign up for the IMHA Quality newsletter so as to be notified of the programme launch will be able to do so via the website,
www.imhaquality.net, where more information about the programme can be found.
( IMHA INEWSLETTER October 2011)