Medics prepare for biological threats

Autor: Oldřich Holeček

A five-day training exercise recently organised at the Centre of Biological Protection at Techonin was aimed at testing the readiness of staff in dealing with the potential outbreak of highly infectious diseases or a bio-terrorist attack on Czech territory.

The exercise was based on scenarios from actual cases from the recent Ebola epidemic, and the Czech staff were joined by the German military surgeon, Major Claudia Frey, who is based at a military clinic in Hamburg. Her personal experience from treating the Ebola outbreak, both in Germany and at its epicenter in Liberia, have provided her with unique insight and knowledge when it comes to refining standard treatment procedures.

Over a hundred personnel from the Military Medical Agency, the Military Medical Faculty at the University of Defence, and from the Central Military Hospital participated in the exercise. Many of the external trainees have also been directly assigned for deployment in the event of a real-life medical situation in Techonin.

"Applying experience gained from working with recent controlled or ongoing epidemics, both locally and world-wide, is proving indispensable to our understanding of Ebola and other diseases," explained Lieutenant Colonel Ales Rybka, Chief of the Hospitalisation and Isolation Group at the Techonin hospital.

"Regular practice runs and mobilisation of the centre is vital for maintaining its readiness, but is also necessary in order to incorporate the continuous updates on technical and scientific progress in this field," says Lieutenant Colonel Michal Kroca, Director of the centre.

The exercise was also attended by personnel from the Police of the Czech Republic and the Regional Hygienic Station of Pardubice Region.

The Centre of Biological Protection in Techonin is the only bio-hazard specialised centre in the Czech Republic. It operates not only for Czech soldiers but also to protect and treat Czech citizens. The centre also holds workshops and training exercises for Czech military and civilian specialists, as well as medics from the NATO countries.

By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

March 8, 2016