BAGHDAD - Twenty-two health professionals from Iraq's Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior and Civil Defense completed a course in disaster health management conducted in the Ministerial Training Development Center here Sept. 22.

Instructors from the U.S. Defense Institute for Medical Operations conducted a four-day "Disaster Public Health and Public Health System Management" course, which is designed as a "train-the-trainer" course.

"After a disaster, either man-made or natural, it is important for health care personnel to know how to effectively manage care, shelter and food," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Kurt Workmaster, who serves as the advisor to the Iraq MoD Surgeon General's Office for Training. "Therefore this course focused on things like hygiene, shelter and all the things that need to be considered after a disaster."

The Government of Iraq has steadily increased training for personnel in the health care arena, raising the quality of care throughout the country.

"One of the most important phases in improving health care for Iraqis is to improve the training that health care professionals receive," said Maj. Gen. Samir Abdullah, the surgeon general for Iraqi Joint Forces.

Graduates from this course will be able to take what they have learned and share it with their colleagues, enhancing Iraq's ability to respond to the health care needs of the Iraqi people following a disaster, should the need occur.