IMGS: A Guide Between Life or Death

January 15, 2022

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This article will discuss about all that you need to know about International Medical Guide for Ships (IMGS).

What is IMGS?

Your vessel is in the middle of preparing for the pre-hire inspection (PHI) from one of the prominent clients in the country. When auditor for medicine chest is doing his audit, to your surprised, one of the most important publications on board are not in their place. That is IMGS! You know that without IMGS, your vessel might fail the PHI and not get hired as well!

IMGS is a very essential tool of survival when you are in the middle of the sea because you will never know when will the professional medical assistance will be provided to attend your health problems. Therefore, the only reference you have is IMGS which serve as quick reference to help you treat and respond to any health hazard before medical assistance arrive and take over.

IMGS covers

IMGS covers a vast information regarding health management, sanitisation, hygiene and medical procedures and management for below conditions:

  1. First Aid
  2. Shock
  3. Pain Management
  4. Head Injuries
  5. Eye Injuries and Diseases
  6. Bone, Joint, and Muscle Injuries
  7. Abdominal and Chest Injuries
  8. Wounds
  9. Heat Stroke and Other Heat Disorders
  10. Poisoning
  11. Paralysis, Strange Behaviour, Unconsciousness/li>
  12. Chest Pain and Other Disorders of the Heart and Circulation
  13. Respiratory Diseases
  14. Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases
  15. Kidney and Other Urinary Disorders
  16. Pregnancy and Childbirth
  17. Sexually Transmitted Infections
  18. Skin Diseases
  19. Bone, Joint, and Muscle Disorders
  20. Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drug Use
  21. Infectious Diseases
  22. Dental Problems
  23. External Assistance
  24. Death at Sea
  25. Nursing Care and Medical Procedures
  26. Medical Care for Survivors at Sea
  27. Environmental Control and Hygiene
  28. Preventing Disease and Promoting Health in Seafarers
  29. Anatomy and Physiology
  30. The Ship’s Medicine Chest

You must be wondering why does there are so many things covered in the International Medical Guide for Ships? Let’s put it like this. In a case of emergencies, and you are so far away from shore, and you can’t get immediate medical response like when you are on land. You are on your own in the middle of the sea!

Thus, IMGS serve as a quick guide for you to handle health situation that need quick assessment and treatment on board by the crew members before patient can be evacuated by MEDEVAC which usually will take time to arrive. This is especially important in life-threatening condition. Even for non-emergency cases, if your voyage takes months, you will need to attend to the illness to prevent them from getting worse.

It is also important to note that, the International Medical Guide for Ships is one of the mandatory publications that you need to have onboard. Your vessel might not get the permission to sail if you do not have a copy in your ship.

How Can I Get A Copy?

You won’t be able to find a copy of IMGS in a regular book shop such as Kinokuniya as only company who apply and granted the licensing right from the World Health Organization (WHO) is authorised to sell and distribute WHO publication including IMGS. You may, however, get the soft copy from WHO official website, and use it as your reference.

That concludes about things that you need to know about IMGS. However, bear in mind that IMGS serve only as a guideline and if you do not have proper training on medicine and medical procedure, always call and seek help from Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center of Malaysia at 03-89413140 in case of medical emergency and need of evacuation. In case of non-emergency situation and you need assistance on how to take medicines and use the medical equipment, you can contact Ideal Nauticare by clicking on this link.