New International Medical Guide for Ships (Third Edition) launched jointly by IMO, ILO and WHO

Joint communiqué from ILO, IMO and WHO

A new edition of the International Medical Guide for Ships has been published by the World Health Organization (WHO), on behalf of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and WHO itself. Copies of this book are now available from WHO and IMO.

Seafaring has always been a dangerous occupation. Long voyages, extreme weather conditions, illnesses and accidents can take a heavy toll on the health of crew members. Seafarers are exposed to greater risks to their health and are isolated from the usual sources of medical care and assistance available to people on shore. The third edition of the International Medical Guide for Ships provides the most up-to-date practical guidance for those who must render assistance when seafarers fall ill or are injured on board ship.

Since it was first published in 1967, the International Medical Guide for Ships has been a standard reference for medical care on board ships. The recently adopted ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, stipulates that all ships should carry a medicine chest, medical equipment and a medical guide, such as this one. The importance of a thorough knowledge of the Guide is highlighted in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended; the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), 1995; the revised Code of Safety for Fishermen and Fishing Vessels, 2005; and the FAO/ILO/IMO Document for Guidance on Training and Certification of Fishing Vessel Personnel, 2000. In addition, the International Medical Guide for Ships is cross-referenced in the Medical First Aid Guide for Use in Accidents Involving Dangerous Goods, published by IMO, on behalf of ILO, IMO and WHO.

The second edition, written in 1988, was translated into more than 30 languages, and has been used in tens of thousands of ships. This, the third edition, contains fully updated recommendations aimed at promoting and protecting the health of seafarers, and is consistent with the latest revisions of both the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and the International Health Regulations.

The International Medical Guide for Ships upholds a key principle of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006: to ensure that seafarers are given health protection and medical care no less favourable than that which is generally available to workers ashore, including prompt access to the necessary medicines, medical equipment and facilities for diagnosis and treatment and to medical information and expertise. By ensuring that this guide is carried on board ships entitled to fly their flags, and following its instructions, countries can fulfil their obligations under the terms of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and ensure the best possible health outcomes for their seafaring population.

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The International Medical Guide for Ships is available from authorized distributors of IMO publications (http://www.imo.org/Publications/mainframe.asp?topic_id=429 ) and via the IMO's Online Bookshop. For further information, please consult the IMO website at www.imo.org.

Technical details: 488 pp, hardback, product code: I115E, price £50, ISBN: 978-92-415-4720-8.

Customers wishing to be informed about the availability of new IMO titles can register online at: http://www.imo.org/Publications/mainframe.asp?topic_id=517

Briefing 8, 17 March 2008

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ILO - International Labour Organization - is the tripartite UN agency that brings together governments, employers and workers in common action to promote decent work throughout the world.
Web site: www.ilo.org
For further information please contact:
The Department of Communication of the ILO at communication@ilo.org or +4122/799- 7912

WHO - the World Health Organization - is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations' system.
Web site: www.who.int
For further information please contact:
Fiona Fleck, Communications Officer, WHO Press on +41 22 791 1897 (fleckf@who.int) or
Laragh Gollogly, Editor, WHO Press on +41 22 791 1968 (golloglyl@who.int).


For further information from IMO please contact:
Lee Adamson, Head, Public Information Services on 020 7587 3153 (media@imo.org) or
Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (media@imo.org).