Gynaecology in Military Medicine?
On the new challenges posed by the presence of female service personnel in the forces.
There has been a continuous increase in the number of female soldiers in the German Bundeswehr following the implementation of the ruling of the European Court of Justice of 11 January 2000, in which it is stipulated that women must be allowed the same access to the armed forces as men. Not only this, but the law on equality of male and female service personnel was passed on 1 January 2004. The number of female soldiers tripled in the period 2001 – 2008. There are currently more than 15,200 female short-service and career soldiers serving in the Bundeswehr.This means new challenges for the military medical services in the area of gynaecological disorders. To date, these aspects have only been dealt with in passing – if at all – during the specialised training of Bundeswehr medical corps personnel in the associated areas of dermatology, urology and surgery. This is at least partly attributable to the fact that female soldiers in Germany requiring gynaecological treatment are still referred out to local civilian gynaecological practitioners. But this is clearly not an option for female service personnel on foreign deployment or assigned to sea-borne units.