✍ Surakshya Poudel,
Health service Department
Nepal Red Cross Society
Could not get any famous word than COVID-19 to start up my writings to catch the eyes of readers for this piece of information. Sometimes I feel like a student with all answers and been muted by the organizer of the meeting, yes COVID-19 has shut us up inside the door in such a way that the essential measures are closed and many prioritized task before January 2020 are down in the list. Be it a rising issues in health sectors, alarming problem of the climate change or the need of life saving First Aid skills in our day to day life.
The increasing case of other diseases and related problems during the pandemic COVID-19 is merely given attention. The global priority is to fight pandemic but we cannot deny the fact that we are with this facing other crucial issues, be it paramount economic loss or health problems like evident increase in suicidal rate, violence cases, stress and also the rise in Non-communicable diseases due to limited physical activity. First Aid as a lifesaving approach may be required in any form at any place.
The theme of year 2018 highlighted the need of First Aid in domestic accident as rise in household based accident were studied. This shows that the world being packed in home are not in less risk to need of First Aid. The increase practice of work from home, reduced on spot socialization and maintaining distance are all being precipitating factors to increase stress be it physical or mental, hence the optimal need of Psychosocial FA is highly recognized and prioritized implementation strategy in this pandemic.
Incident may be limited by safety measures but cannot be neglected as it is unpredictable and may occur at any form. Road safety related issues arise first when it comes to First Aid and due to protocol of limiting the unnecessary movement this might have been controlled to some extent. Meanwhile the FA measures for Cardiac arrest, chocking substance, cut injuries and burns at home, drowning and many others cannot be ignored.
The challenge is how to keep the practice intact as the risk of diseases transmission during the practice is high. Well as first Aid principal guides, “Safety First“, being well prepared with essential Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) as per the First aid procedure is very much a priority. The provider must be confident enough to perform the first aid and not infect him/herself.
The impact of COVID-19 will remain among us for months to come as per the recent studies and research on the diseases and its transmission, hence realizing the need to adapt First Aid practices during the pandemic, this year’s theme for World First Aid Day celebration is “Adapting First Aid practices in Pandemic”.
This highlights and announces to large audience to keep spreading your knowledge and skill based on very first principal of First Aid, that is in safe manner. Do not limit yourself from providing service and see to the innovative and practical measures adjustable to COVID-19 scenario.
When it comes to skill transfer, it requires keen observation of the mentor. Today virtual platform is preferred to limit the risk of diseases transmission, but it must be well known by the expert of FA practices to what needs to be done for the best transfer of FA skill. The virtual means come with limitation of minimal two-way communication in trainings and the correct form may not be known to all the participant.
This might lead to improper practice and hamper the patients’ outcome. However, realizing the need, based on the guideline, training and orientation for knowledge transfer to its best can be done. This shall to the greater extent benefit the community and limit the impact. The video presentation, sharing past FA practices and experience and maximizing the awareness on First Aid may be adaptive measures to keep FA practices intact in this Pandemic.
Psychosocial First Aid practice may be one of the successful example of skill and knowledge transfer via virtual means. Many sessions guided by the expert and trainers have reached to household level meeting the individual need for psychosocial support.
The FA trained personal can impart their knowledge in the needful FA practice at their home or neighborhood. The skill and knowledge transfer cab also be done by guiding the and encouraging injured person with cuts, nose bleeding, snake bites or even fracture to stabilize themselves.
The untrained person via a correct guidance can make efforts to provide immediate required care to the injured until they receive the care from medical practitioners. NRCS have initiated digitalizing the practice by use of FA applications for mobile phones, these applications can also be a measure to learn immediate required practices. Disseminating the message on First Aid application may also be a measure to increase awareness on FA practices at all levels in this pandemic scenario where on spot orientation is not suitable.
Global efforts from all the sectors are being done to adapt to this pandemic and COVID-19 friendly approaches are being planned to sustain the actions and limit the human sufferings that COVID-19 have otherwise increased.
With this, FA as an important aspect in cycle of patient treatment must be thought to be prioritized by the concerned level and each level must give their input to someway address this issue. If not the data post COVID-19 may give a regretful picture of how one diseases affected the continuum of care and lead to increase count of preventable mortality.
So, for the First Aid volunteers, trainers, or the experts in field, continue spreading your correct knowledge on First Aid at different scenario and transfer your skills with essential personal safety. Midst COVID-19, continue your regular responsibility in the name of humanity.