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Twelfth meeting - MBC General Assembly, October 2002
Tripoli - libya

The president’s report, 2000-2002

It is my honour to present to the General Assembly of the Mediterranean Council for Burns and Fire Disasters this Report on the MBC’s activities for the period 2000-2002.

As the Assembly will recall, it was proposed by me and accepted at our last Meeting in Portugal that the name “Club” in our title be changed to “Council”. Since then, under our new appellation of Mediterranean Council for Burns and Fire Disasters, we have led a busy and fruitful biennium, of which I shall only mention some highlights. Other details will be found in the Secretary General’s Report, which I commend to your approval.

World Health Organization

The MBC is a fully active scientific WHO Collaborating Centre. Indeed, more than the usual activities of a Collaborating Centre, our organization hosted the multicentre meeting of WHO in Palermo in September 2001, and has also the privilege of being nominated as the Co-Ordinating Point for all the Collaborating Centres related to the WHO Department of Emergency and Humanitarian Action (EHA).

In November 2001 the MBC was commissioned by WHO to conduct and emergency mission in the wake of a very serious petroleum explosion fire disaster in Nigeria, Africa. This was much appreciated both by WHO and by the government, and will be followed up.

Besides EHA, in its general Injury section WHO also has a facility concerning vegetation fire disasters. Its representative took part in our Lisbon meeting and relations have been kept up.

The “WHO Page” in the Annals appears regularly and gives news on pertinent WHO activities in the fields of disaster and humanitarian medicine.

Copies of the President’s “Multilingual Dictionary of Disaster Medicine and International Relief” are now available at WHO and are included in the disaster relief portable library.

Two of our 10 annual Scholarships are reserved for WHO.

United Nations

Our organization has been nominated an official Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. This makes the MBC the only such official organization within the field of burns and fire disasters and we are proud of this prestigious and important designation. The MBC will do all it can to deserve this recognition and to be at the service of the United Nations for problems of burns and fire disasters. Members are encouraged to promote the philosophy and action of the U.N.

International Association for Humanitarian Medicine Brock Chisholm

This organization is now fully operational and, although independent of the MBC, several MBC members are active in its programme. This too has received the full support of the United Nations NGO Section. The imaginative WOH (World Open Hospital) is already in function and offers valuable humanitarian medical/surgical services.

European Union

The MBC had already established ties with the European Commission through the COMETT programme. At present our organization is in an even stronger collaborative position as it conducts the EUMEDIS BurNet programme at the Euro-Mediterranean level. This provides, under the leadership of the MBC, a central base for an internet link among 17 countries and a telecommunication/teleconferencing focus regarding treatment and prevention of burn injuries and fire disasters through the facilities of telemedicine. The fact that this endeavour has been awarded to the MBC against stiff and wide competition tells much about the progress we have made since our modest but ambitious beginnings.

Other international relations

Besides the aforementioned on-going scientific and organizational international relations, the MBC continues to maintain and strengthen close ties with relevant organizations in the Mediterranean basin, in Europe and further afield. Among others, such relations include:

Pan-Arab Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Burn Surgeons. The MBC has been invited and has constantly participated in the meetings of these able colleagues in the Arab world. Last year we took part in its excellent meeting held in Amman, graciously hosted by our Jordanian colleagues, and this year their meeting coincides with our 12th Assembly. This year our Meeting will also coincide with the 5th Meeting of the Libyan Society of Plastic Surgeons, who are hosting us in Tripoli. We also welcome the 3rd Conference of the Pan-African Association of Plastic Surgeons.

International Federation of Surgical Colleges. The MBC is a Specialty Organization within this prestigious Federation, and provides two scholarships annually. Two MBC executives are in the directorate of the IFSC.

World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine. MBC is an Affiliate Member of WADEM. It collaborates in the Association’s search for a Template for quality assessment of disaster responses.

La Société Française d’Etude et de Traitement des Brûlures maintains close ties with MBC and several members have joint (and honorary) affiliations.

Italian affiliations. Our Secretary General is the current President of the Italian Society for Burn Injuries.

We are again honoured by the gracious and generous support of the Italian Authorities and, in particular, we acknowledge the unstinting encouragement and help of the Sicilian Government and Regional Parliament. This is thankfully acknowledged. MBC is also the Scientific office of the Whitaker Foundation.

The Annals

Our scientific journal, the Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters, appears very regularly quarterly and is now in its 15th volume, issued at around 3300 copies per number, with a worldwide readership. Its contents are available free on the internet to the scientific community. It also has the “WHO Page”. Over the past year it has been published together with the Journal of Humanitarian Medicine, with which MBC has organic ties.


Each year the MBC provides scholarships to ten deserving health workers to improve their own professional skills and the Region’s capabilities in burns and disaster management. Two of these are reserved as Joint MBC/WHO and another two as Joint MBC/ISFC Scholarships. Our organization can justly be proud of its academic contribution, beside its field work. Additionally, this year, we provided two travel grants to two senior African surgeons who had been involved with us in the mission for petroleum disaster.

Organizational matters

With the constant growth of the MBC and with our involvement in increasingly wider projects, I call upon members to participate more actively in the Council’s work and bring rejuvenated action by our 13th Meeting.

For the successful running of our organization I should pay tribute and express thanks on your behalf to our Secretary General, without whom and his team the MBC would be at great loss.

On this particular occasion I also thank the Libyan Society of Plastic Surgery and its President, who are graciously hosting our Twelfth Meeting.

Tripoli, October 2002
Prof. S. William A. Gunn, MD, MS, FRCSC, DSc (Hon)

secretary general’s report, 2000-2002

All the activities of the Mediterranean Council for Burns and Fire Disasters in the years 2000-2002 can be summarized thus:

Sector of prevention and public education

The action of prevention and public education conducted by the MBC has continued by providing the various partners and all the structures engaged in this sector with all the material (videos, folders, posters, etc.) produced by the MBC.

A project of co-operation between the MBC and the Italian Civil Defence organization has been completed. This aims at the creation of “multimedia self-teaching information and training modules for the management of first health action in industrial disasters”. Using the simplicity and immediacy of visual information technology techniques, these modules will constitute a further valid aid in terms of information and training with regard to immediate health action in the event of mass disasters and industrial accidents. Copies of the modules will be prepared in English, French, and Arabic and made available to anyone requesting them.

b) Sector of disaster and emergency

The action of the MBC in this sector has increased since its appointment as a WHO Collaborating Centre.

In September 2001 the MBC organized in Palermo the Second Global Meeting of WHO Collaborating Centres for Emergency and Humanitarian Action (EHA). On this occasion the MBC was entrusted with the task of co-ordinating the activity of the 14 EHA Centres.

In November 2001 the MBC, in its capacity as a WHO Collaborating Centre, led an emergency mission to evaluate the damage suffered by persons and property and the pharmaceutical needs following a devastating kerosene explosion in Lagos (Nigeria).

Active support has continued to be given to the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine Brock Chisholm (IAHM), with the MBC’s participation in the organization of the Second International Symposium on the “Right to Health and Humanitarian Action”, organized by the IAHM and held in Modena (Italy) in April 2002.

In its capacity as NGO in Special Consultative Status with the EcoSoC of the U.N., the MBC was invited to participate as a Rapporteur at the “Congrès Mondial de la Paix et de la Solidarité” held in Algiers in July 2002.

c) Sector of cultural exchange between Member countries

The Council’s scholarships were again awarded in 2001-2002 to physicians and nurses to enable them to attend Burns Centres and Plastic Surgery Departments in the various countries of the Mediterranean area for a period of one month.

In the last two years scholarships were awarded to the following physicians and nurses:


R. Carnino MD - Italy H. Mahmoud MD - Tunisia

R. Gilardi MD - Italy V. Marguglio MD - Italy

H. Latif MD - Syria G. Xhepa MD - Albania

G. Efstathiou - Cyprus A. Rossato - Italy

G. Frasconà - Italy


M. Boulaadas MD - Morocco E. Tsati MD - Greece

M. Reghai MD - Morocco H. Zili MD - Tunisia

A. Sobi Zaki MD - Egypt Z. Zvizdc MD - Bosnia H

A. Taran MD - Modava

I. Steka - Cyprus

S. Tafaj - Albania

d) Sector of cultural promotion, study and research

To develop this sector, the MBC has organized and participated in various national and international meetings:

The MBC was invited to participate:

e) Promotion of the spirit of co-operation between the countries

The action of promotion of the spirit of co-operation between the countries of the Mediterranean area belonging to the MBC, which has constituted one of the association’s main objectives, recently became concrete with the beginning of activities to set up the BURNET project financed by the European Commission.

This project aims to interconnect the Mediterranean Burn Centres (B.C.) through an information network both to standardize courses of action in the field of prevention, treatment, and functional and psychological rehabilitation of burn patients, and to co-ordinate interactions between B.C. and emergency rooms in peripheral hospitals using training/ information activities to optimize first aid provided to burn patients before referral to a B.C.

Shared procedure protocols for the prevention, care, and rehabilitation of patients, both at individual and mass level, will help create an international specialized database and a web-based teleconsultation system.

A web-portal will be developed with the aim of interconnecting and involving all health-care providers and emergency workers involved in rescuing burn victims, transferring them, or giving their contribution to fighting against fire disasters, when they often come into contact with burn victims. Some pages of the BURNET web portal will be specially designed for these people, with discussion groups, mailing lists, and the opportunity to publish articles and personal experiences and on-line training courses.

In the event of mass burns, the network will make it possible to co-ordinate emergency actions between the various B.C. and between the Centres, peripheral hospitals, and similar operational units, with the aim of optimizing the procedures to be implemented at the various stages of disaster management.

The non-inclusion of two Member Countries (Libya and Portugal) among the Partners is due uniquely to the fact that they were not included in the official announcement as being among the eligible countries on the Mediterranean coastline. The MBC has already sought and received the Commission’s approval that these two countries should be included as observer countries that may enjoy the results of the Project.

For further information, please contact the web site:www.burnet.org

f) Dissemination of the MBC’s activities

The publication of Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters, the Association’s quarterly journal, continues regularly. The editors consider that the quality of the journal has further improved, as confirmed by the elevated number of articles submitted for publication by authors, also from countries outside the Mediterranean area. The circulation is stable at over 3,300 copies. The number of visitors to the web site www.medbc.com/annals is continually on the increase, confirming the interest that the Journal arouses, as also the section Medit-Line, which publishes articles pending publication in Annals as well as all issues already published.

Five related journals have requested to publish their articles in the Medit-Line section. These are: Acta Chirurgiae Plasticae, Brûlures, Cirugìa Plastica Ibero-Latinoamericana, The Egyptian Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and RAQ (Revista Argentina de Quemaduras).

As from Vol. XIII n. 4, Annals has included the Journal of Humanitarian Medicine Brock Chisholm, the official publication of the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine Brock Chisholm (IAHM), and the WHO Page.

The MBC manages four web sites: www.medbc.com, www.medbc. com/annals, www.burnet.org, and www.iahm.org.

This permits wide diffusion of all the Association’s activities.

g) Future MBC activities

The UPTUN project: the MBC was invited to participate in the realization of this project, financed by the European Union. There are 39 partners, and the objectives are the development of innovative technologies where appropriate and where relevant with respect to the assessment of existing technologies for tunnel application. The focus is on technologies in the areas of detection and monitoring, mitigating measures, influencing human response, and protection against structural damage; development, demonstration, and promotion of procedures for rational safety level evaluation, including decision support models; and knowledge transfer. The MBC’s participation is finalized to propose a model for evacuation of victims, self-assistance and first aid, guidelines, and emergency protocol.

Tripoli, 18 October 2002
Prof. Michele Masellis
Secretary General

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