MG (Ret.) Dr. Roger Van Hoof
Future Forces Forum
International Committee of Military Medicine
Global Health Cooperation and Military Medicine
Civil-military cooperation is mandatory in CBRN defense matters. For to the ‘B’ aspect in CBRN, the civil-military, or better, the civil-military medical cooperation has to be imbedded in a ‘global halth’ approach. However, when we want to analyze the possible participation of military medical services in a global health approach, we have first to answer some important questions : 1. What is ‘Global Health’ ? 2. What is ‘Global Health Cooperation ?’ Only if we have the answers on these questions, we can decide what kind of participation military medical services can offer in such a cooperation. However, the definitions of ‘Global Health’ and ‘Global Health Cooperation’ are yet not clear and certainly very complicated because of the involvement of various different elements. For example ‘Global Health’ evolved progressively from controlling infectious-disease transmission in a globalized world to the effect of the global economy on health issues, with other aspects between these two. Governments, transnational corporations, non-governmental organizations, religious and other international movements, can make their own decisions when they participate in a global health cooperation. Military medical services however are embedded in national structures, under the authority of their government and cannot take decisions on their own when they participate in such a cooperation. Depending on the kind of cooperation, military medical services can either not at all or only partially – after approval by their government - participate in a global health cooperation. For military medical services, participation in a multilateral international cooperation, approved by their government, is much more realistic in the defense against infectious agents. However, cooperation in some health research and in exchange of scientific knowledge and practical medical and health experience is more appropriate for the national military medical services. This is the focus and the mission of the International Committee of Military Medicine, as intergovernmental, neutral and impartial organization.
Born in Belgium and raised in Brussels, he joined the Belgian Royal School of Military Health Service in 1964, started his medical education in the same year and graduated as MD at the University of Leuven (Louvain – KUL) in 1971. He was the Medical Officer of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade in Siegen (Germany) from 1971 to 1973 and started then as resident in Internal Medicine and Cardiology in the University Clinic of Louvain, Belgium. From 1978 to 1981 he worked as cardiologist in the Belgian Military Hospital in Cologne (Germany) and from 1978 to 1981 as cardiologist and head of the department of Epidemiology and Medical Research at the Military Hospital Queen Astrid in Brussels. From 1983 to 1997 he was research fellow in the hypertension and cardiac rehabilitation lab at the University of Louvain (Belgium) and consultant for sport cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at the University Clinic. From 1997 to 1999 he became the director of the Military Hospital Queen Astrid in Brussels. In 1999 he was promoted Major General and became the Surgeon General and Chief of Staff of the Belgian Military Health Service. From 1999 to 2005 he was the Chairman of COMEDS (Committee of Surgeon Generals of NATO) and from 2001 to 2006 Aid of the Belgian King. He retired from the Belgian Armed Forces in 2006. Since November 2011 he is the Secretary General of the International Committee of Military Medicine.