Skip to 0 minutes and 17 secondsIf a nuclear weapon exploded in a major city the centre of the blast would be hotter than the surface of the sun. Hurricane winds would spread a firestorm of flames from the blast and 10s of 1000s of people would die. The survivors would have no electricity, no transportation, no phones. Electronic devices such as pacemakers would be disabled. Hospitals would be completely overwhelmed. This week you will play a simulation game in which a 10 kt nuclear bomb is dropped on a major European city. You will become a key figure in the emergency response.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 secondsThe simulation will help you understand the health effects of a nuclear explosion, what best medical practices, and how you can get involved as a health professional in the prevention of nuclear war. Does this all seem like an unlikely scenario?Well today, nine countries hold nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons. That’s enough to destroy the planet 100s of times over. Even a regional nuclear war, would have devastating environmental consequences for the rest of the world. How do we know this? After World War II a group of atomic scientists designed a ‘Doomsday Clock’ to keep track of the risk of a nuclear conflict. The clock’s minute hand moves closer to midnight or further away depending on the likelihood of nuclear war.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 secondsIn 1947, just after World War II, the minute hand stood at 7 mins before midnight. In 1953 - as the Soviet Union increased nuclear testing, it advanced to a state of imminent threat at 2 mins to midnight. In 1991 the superpowers agreed to reduce nuclear arm stockpiles and the clock was set back to a much more comfortable 17 mins before midnight. Unfortunately, this year it has been moved to just 2.5 min before midnight, a near-historic high of risk for nuclear conflict. This week we will explore the health, humanitarian and environmental consequences of a nuclear conflict.

Skip to 2 minutes and 25 secondsWe will look at how nuclear stockpiles are part of the continuum of violence, which undermines human health, and we’ll talk about what you can do to help. Join us!

Welcome to Week 5

Over the past weeks we have looked at micro-level violence and clinical settings. This week we will investigate direct, macro-level violence, and revisit the basic concepts of peace, conflict, and war in a new context.

Your instructors this week are Stefi Barna, Xanthe Hall, Co-Director of IPPNW Germany and expert on international disarmament, and Alex Rosen, a paediatrician from Berlin and vice-president of the German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

By the end of the week you will be able to:

  • Describe the health effects of a nuclear weapon detonation
  • Identify best medical practice in the event of a nuclear explosion
  • Discuss the rationale for health professionals involvement in preventing nuclear conflict

Spend a few minutes watching the introductory video above, then move on to the next step when you’re ready.

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This video is from the free online course:

Medical Peace Work

University of Bergen

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Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: