• Kyodo

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The International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization will hold an English course in Fukuoka Prefecture aimed at training specialists in disaster-related humanitarian assistance and health services.

The HELP course, standing for both Health Emergencies in Large Populations and Health, Ethics, Law and Politics, will be held at the Japanese Red Cross Kyushu International College of Nursing in Munakata from March 10 to March 28.

It will be the fourth such course offered in Asia since their launch in 1986 and the first in Japan. Past courses have been held in Manila, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

The Japanese Red Cross Society and the university have been involved in planning the project from the outset, organizers said.

Previous courses have attracted doctors, nurses, environment specialists, hygiene specialists and other professionals from 127 countries, they said.

Participants will primarily be coached on what decisions to make in scenarios where many people are suffering from health problems, sometimes amid ethnic conflicts, they added.

“It’s an urgent task for Japan to train people who can show leadership in conflict zones and areas where conflicts have ceased,” said Dr. Etsuko Kita, 63, who has treated people in conflict zones and now teaches at the Red Cross college.

The course will be open not only to professionals but also to those who have previously done aid work. Twenty-five people can sign up, with each participant paying $1,500 (about 180,000 yen).

Financial aid is also available for participants from countries that do not belong to the Organization for Economic, Cooperation and Development, the organizers said.

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