A new set of evidence-based guidelines that comprehensively address how basic first responders should be trained to manage emergency situations in an African context has been released, published in this week's PLoS Medicine. The guidelines, which were developed by a panel of African-based experts and in conjunction with African Red Cross Societies, focus on first aid interventions requiring minimal or no equipment. They can be used by individuals and organisations involved in first aid training programmes in Africa, and an implementation guide is also available to help tailor the training materials to the local context and target group.
As the authors note, in sub-Saharan Africa, where 41% of all deaths and 39% of the morbidity burden can potentially be addressed by emergency care, prompt and adequate care can increase the likelihood of survival and recovery. "Pre-hospital care is a vital initial step," say the authors, but is often unavailable until now.
The full guidelines and implementation guide, part of the African First Aid Materials project (AFAM) are available at http://www.
Funding: This guideline was funded by the Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, the Flanders International Cooperation Agency (FICA), and by the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD). SVDV, EDB, and PV are in employment at the Belgian Red Cross-Flanders and were involved in the design of the guideline development plan, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, and preparation of the manuscript. FICA and DGD were not involved in the content or development of the guideline.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. For reasons of transparency we declare that Stijn Van de Velde received funding from the Laerdal Foundation of Acute Medicine for a trial on bystander helping behaviour for myocardial infarction following first aid training.
Citation: Van de Velde S, De Buck E, Vandekerckhove P, Volmink J (2011) Evidence-Based African First Aid Guidelines and Training Materials. PLoS Med 7(7): e1001059. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001059
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Stijn Van de Velde
Belgian Red Cross-Flanders
Mechelen, Belgium 2800
+32 15 44 34 76