21 Oct 2009 05:30

MoH calls for medical preparedness in radiation cases

Shanghai. October 20. INTERFAX-CHINA - The Ministry of Health (MoH) issued a circular on Oct. 20 requesting local health authorities to improve medical response preparedness in the event of nuclear and radiological emergencies.

According to the circular, local health authorities must establish comprehensive medical response systems comprising of hospitals, universities, research institutions as well as national and provincial-level medical treatment centers capable of handling nuclear and radiation casualties.

In particular, health authorities need to designate hospitals for the monitoring and prevention of radiological incidents, stockpiling of equipment and drugs and treatment of casualties.

Further, the circular requires provincial health bureaus to set up emergency response coordination committees while local health authorities must formulate emergency medical response strategies and organize emergency preparedness training sessions.

The MoH noted that China's nuclear power industry has seen rapid growth and radiological technology are now widely used in manufacturing and scientific research. In the meantime, countries neighboring China are increasingly utilizing nuclear energy.

An employee from Jiangsu Hospital Association, who asked that his name not be used, told Interfax on Oct. 20 that China's health authorities are paying more attention to the treatment of radiation poisoning patients in recent years. For instance, China's major hospitals have set up departments to develop protocols for the treatment of radiation casualties.

"Jiangsu Hospital Association has organized training programs on the treatment of nuclear and radiation casualties in the past," the employee said.

The MoH conducted China's first nuclear and radiological emergency medical response rehearsal exercise in Shenyang, capital city of Liaoning Province, in July 2007. Over the past several years, local health authorities in various regions have also organized training on the treatment of nuclear and radiation casualties.

- KZ