Health aspects of disaster a success 


A recent Charles Darwin University (CDU) short course aimed at teaching health practitioners and students how to deal with the effects of a major disaster and medical pandemics has been heralded a success.

With recent regional disasters in mind, including the Bali bombings, the 2004 Tsunami and the Yogyakarta earthquakes, the Disaster Response and Preparedness team in the Graduate School for Health Practice recently ran the first ‘Health Aspects of Disaster’ short course in Darwin.

Head of the Centre for Military and Veterans Health (CMVH) Darwin Node and Co-chair of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, Associate Professor David Cooper drew upon his wide involvement in disaster preparedness and invited other experts to present with him at the course.

“The five-day course covered both theoretical and practical components, with attendees required to participate in a decontamination exercise in an outdoor setting, simulating the realities of a disaster response,” he said.

“The program also used case studies from Indonesia, East Timor and Australia and covered topics such as the management of mass causality trauma, chemical and biological radiation, infectious disease emergencies, sexual health issues in an emergency, recovery and reconstruction and displaced camp planning.”

Twenty-six people attended the course from backgrounds including defence, medicine and nursing, department of health, epidemiologogists and variety of Masters students.

Participants in the course strongly agreed that the course content was valuable and that they would recommend the course to others.

Future ‘Health Aspects of Disaster’ courses are planned. For information contact Associate Professor David Cooper at