1. Accueil
  2. EN
  3. Studying at ULB
  4. Find your course

Interuniversity Certificate in Humanitarian surgery in austere environments

Interuniversity Certificate in Humanitarian surgery in austere environments

Accéder aux sections de la fiche

Call to actions

  • Programme title
    Interuniversity Certificate in Humanitarian surgery in austere environments
  • Programme mnemonic
  • Programme organised by
    • Centre de Formation Continue en Santé et Sciences de la vie
    • Faculty of Medicine
  • Title type
    formation continue
  • Open to returning students
  • Languages of instruction
  • Programme duration
    medium (6 to 15 days)
  • Campus
    Other campus, MSF offices
    46, Rue de l’Arbre Bénit
    1050 Brussels
  • Category / Topic
    Health - Medical sciences


General information

Title type

formation continue

Programme duration

medium (6 to 15 days)

Learning language(s)



Other campus, MSF offices
46, Rue de l’Arbre Bénit
1050 Brussels

Category(ies) - Topic(s)

Health - Medical sciences

Organising faculty(s) and university(ies) Open to returning students


Tuition fee

  • Surgeons : 1.250,00 €
  • Surgical assistants : 850,00 € 
A maximum of 15 assistants will be accepted per course.
The tuition fees cover the registration at UCL, the university coordinating the program, access to the classes and infrastructure, coffee breaks, midday meals and course materials.


+32 2 555 85 17

Registration now open.
Sign up on the UCLouvain registration form.

Humanitarian surgery in austere environments


  • Understand the characteristics and the limits of performing surgery in the austere conditions of humanitarian medicine
  • Become familiar with the medico-surgical skills for the management of war wounds and crush injuries
  • Perform a range of surgical procedures, including management of extremity injuries, trauma, amputations, damage control surgery, and damage control resuscitation
  • Manage obstetric and gynaecological emergencies including knowledge regarding when and how to safely perform a caesarean section
  • Handle the normal range of surgical emergencies affecting a civilian population in resource constrained environments
  • Become familiar with a range of anaesthesia and resuscitation techniques adapted to local conditions and basic equipment available
  • Make resource based triage decisions
  • Recognize the different sources of stress in austere environments, recognize symptoms of stress, and know the different coping mechanisms to deal with the stress
  • Know the prerequisites to perform quality surgery in austere settings (infrastructure, logistics, basic labs, blood transfusion, water and energy requirements)
  • Manage intercultural and safety/security issues


  • The program will be held in Brussels from November 2019 to May 2020.
  • Courses are held over 4 sessions of 3 days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

  • New and unique offer in Belgium
  • Instruction given in English
  • Supplementary program to those already in existence in Europe
  • Instruction combining theory and practice
  • Multi-skill training which deals with various aspects of emergency humanitarian surgery
  • Teaching staff combining the expertise of field specialists with that of leading experts in trauma and obstetrical surgery
  • A certificate which will enable you to possibly take part in surgical missions within the leading humanitarian NGOs
  • A timetable suited to professionally active individuals

Calendar & registration


  • The participants will have a Doctoral degree in medicine or a Master’s degree in medicine as well as a Master's degree with specialisation in surgery.
  • Individuals taking a Master’s degree with specialisation in surgery may qualify for the certificate from the 4th year of studies.
  • Candidates who do not meet the above admission criteria but who would like to take the course may apply for admission as an observer.
  • A knowledge of English is mandatory.

Target audience

This training is intended for surgeons, as well as assistants undergoing training in this area of specialisation (with a minimum of three years of clinical experience), who would like to acquire the surgical background required to take part in emergency humanitarian surgery missions in austere conditions.

Calendar & registration

Candidates are invited to complete the admission form and to send the letter of motivation to this address.


Program content

The inter-university certificate “Humanitarian surgery in austere environments” is a program comprising:
  • A preparatory work by the student
  • 90 hours of classes given face-to-face and in English

Preparatory work by the student

  • Review of human anatomy, with particular respect to musculo-skeletal and vascular anatomy (75 h)
  • International Humanitarian Laws – IHL (ICRC e-learning training Centre) (15 h)
    • Basic rules and principles of IHL (8 modules with evaluation)
    • Thematic module 1: health care in danger, the legal framework
    • Thematic module 2: rights and responsibilities of health-care personnel in armed conflicts and other emergencies C) * ICRC textbooks (2 volumes) on war surgery (75 h)
  • ICRC textbooks (2 volumes) on war surgery (75 h)
  • Manuel de Chirurgie humanitaire [Manual for Humanitarian Surgery] (M. Ledecq, éditions Lavoisier)
  • Top Knife. The art and craft of trauma surgery (Hirshberg & Mattox, Castle Hill Barns editors)

Humanitarian Surgery Course

  • Course program (90 h)
    • Introduction to humanitarian medicine and surgery
    • War surgery module
    • Resuscitation and anaesthesia module
    • Head, neck and spine surgery module
    • Plastic surgery module
    • Thoracic surgery module
    • Vascular surgery module
    • Abdominal surgery module
    • Urologic surgery module
    • Obstetrics module
    • Paediatric surgery module
    • Orthopaedic trauma
    • Logistics, pharmaceutics and specific questions
    • Hands-on lab
    • Evaluation
  • Course study (40 h)
  • Course evaluation (5 h)

Technical approach & assessment

  • The classes shall be given in English.
  • The training is organised face-to-face and alternates between:
    • Theory
    • A minimum of 25% of case studies
    • Simulation exercises (table top exercise, hands-on lab, practical exercise of sorting mass casualties etc.). 
  • Each training module is carried out by two instructors: an academic and a field expert in order to guarantee both the university character of the classes and their integrative dimension.
  • The evaluation test comprises two parts:
    • A written examination on the theory
    • A discussion before a panel of two examiners on a clinical case presented to the student

Participants who have actively taken part in the whole program and passed the required evaluations will be issued an “Interuniversity certificate in Humanitarian surgery in austere environments”, worth 10 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer System). This certificate is in itself a valuable addition to the participant’s academic records.

Furthermore, the associated credits, if validated by the examination board of a subsequent academic program elsewhere in Europe, can be applied in that program. Participation in all sessions, without passing the evaluations, will result in the issuance of a certificate of attendance.