The third edition of the International Workshop on Anti-Terrorism was officially opened at Auditorium "Prof. Vladimir Ivanov" at St. Marina University Hospital today. The event is organized by Medical University - Varna, together with St. Marina University Hospital and the Embassy of Israel in Bulgaria.
The reason for initiating the already annual workshop is the severe terrorist attack at Sarafovo Airport, which has raised the question whether our health system is adequately prepared for attacks or disasters. "Then, witnessing the tragedy and being direct participants in the medical actions, we realized that we were not prepared to react in situations like this," said the Rector of MU-Varna Prof. Krasimir Ivanov at the opening ceremony.
This year's workshop is attended by more than 250 participants. Among them are members of the Parliament and representatives of the Council of Ministers, the Ministries of Interior, Justice, Transport, Information Technologies and Communications, NGOs, Bulgarian Red Cross, district administrations, municipalities, healthcare and higher education establishments and other institutions as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students and lecturers from Medical University - Varna.
Among the guest lecturers are experts from the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel and the University Hospitals in Jerusalem and Haifa. The Israeli Ambassador to Bulgaria, experts from the US Embassy and the University of Calgary, Canada, will also deliver lectures.
Our country will be presented with the expertise of Prof. Dr. Krasimir Metodiev - Honorary Consul of Israel in Varna and a Referent on Bioterrorism.
Besides lectures, the three-day workshop includes practical exercises and coordination and organization tests of the actions of various institutions in response to natural disasters, civil unrest and terrorist attacks.
For the first time Medical University - Varna has initiated practical training aimed at synchronizing the actions of all institutions under attack. That is exactly the new element of the workshop this year - simulation of practical actions in situations with multiple damages. The practical demonstration will be held on the territory of St. Marina University Hospital - Varna.
During the opening of the workshop, the Rector of MU-Varna also pointed out that "the unified state requirements in the education programmes in Bulgaria have to be altered, and training and preparation for responding to terrorist attacks need to be included in the programmes of all higher schools."
"Anti-terrorism training of students at Medical University - Varna will start this autumn," - said Prof. Radoslav Radev - Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at MU-Varna at the press conference of the event. The module will be a part of the state internship of 6th-year medical students.
"In Israel there is a well-functioning protocol and close coordination in responding to terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, this problem is global and requires international efforts. That is why we'd like to share our experience. No country would be able to cope with international terrorism on its own. Therefore an absolute organization and coordination of the actions of all institutions in all countries are needed to achieve that," said the Ambassador H.E. Iritis Lillian.
There are representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Turkey at the forum, who are not lecturers at the workshop. They have requested the workshop to be "exported" to their countries as well. This was announced by the Honorary Consul of Israel in Varna Prof. Krasimir Metodiev, who is also a moderator of the training.
At the press conference, Mr. Georgi Krastev, national security adviser to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria expressed his support for the proposal of the Rector of MU-Varna counter-terrorism to be included in the programmes of all higher schools. Prof. Michael Halbertal from Rambam University Hospital in Haifa and Prof. Uri Ben Yaakov from the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel also rendered their support for the proposal.