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Red Cross urges governments to enact laws on first aid provision

The Nigerian Red Cross Society has urged governments at all levels to move to enact and strengthen the laws guiding the provision of first aid at accident scenes or public facilities.

Making the call, Thursday, in Abuja, Mr Bashir Dan-Illela, National First Aid Trainer of the Nigeria Red Cross, said the government should institute clear regulations which would encourage people to provide first aid in the challenging situation of an accident.

He said fear of liability was one of the key barriers which deter first aid providers from attempting to help those in need of care.

“First aid saves life as it was a vital initial step for providing effective and swift action that helps to reduce serious injuries and improve the chances of survival.

“A high percentage of deaths that occur in the first critical hour of a road accident, domestic and work places was where first aid skills could play a vital role in saving lives,’’ Illela said.

Illela said that first aid was a humanitarian action that should be accessible to all individuals, adding that first aid training and education should be provided at all stages of one’s life cycle.

He said the government should also establish laws and legislation to promote compulsory first aid training and education in schools, at work places and for every driving licensed candidate.

“First aid should be an integral part of a wider development approach that values and prioritises prevention.

“Due to the life style changes and the growing health risk of non-communicable and cardiovascular diseases as well as the ageing population, the need to scale up first aid training in the country was necessary,’’ Illela said.

According to him, everyone has the potential and capacity to learn and provide first aid to save a life.

“First aid training should be provided to all individuals, as everyone stands the risk of being exposed to an accident and may need to take action.

“Millions of volunteers and communities are empowered every year to save lives impartially and without discrimination by the society,’’ Illela said.

He said there was a need for continuous review and upgrade of existing first aid training and to bring the performance of people to a higher level, and maintain the knowledge and skills throughout their life.

Illela urged drivers to attend refresher courses and have a valid first aid certificate which could be renewed every three years.

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