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Friday, 24 May 2019

Bridging the gap between science and practice

EXPERT: Dr Navindhra Naidoo EXPERT: Dr Navindhra Naidoo

The Department of Emergency Medical Sciences’ Dr Navindhra Naidoo is the chair of an expert panel on Evidence-based First Aid for First Responders (FAFR) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Naidoo said the panel was convened by the Belgian Red Cross and that other panellists included representatives from Red Cross societies elsewhere on the continent.

The guidelines compiled by the panel are aimed at the first individuals in a community to attend to the scene of an emergency and provide them with evidence-based information on what to safely do.

“The value of evidence-based practice is that it bridges the gap between science and practice, and it deals with a wide range of issues from humanitarian aid and risk awareness to responsible care and referral. Because it is evidence-based it provides a safety net for caregivers so they don’t have to fear that what they’re doing may be harmful or unacceptable to communities,” said Naidoo.

“The context for this is knowledge translation toward social capital. The knowledge exists but it is often not adequately translated from other contexts. The process also considers indigenous knowledge systems.”

The guidelines will be field tested in Malawi and the final version will be available towards the end of the year. Training aids will be developed.

Ten years ago Naidoo was a part of an expert panel for the African First Aid Materials (AFAM) project for the Belgian Red Cross.

“That was the first attempt to create evidence-based guidelines for first aid in Africa. At the end of the project we included evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of injuries as well as response. We realised then that there is also a need to develop evidence-based guidelines for first responders to strengthen resilience at grassroots level and to further reduce the emergency care burden in Africa.”

Written by Ilse Fredericks


Provides coverage for the Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design Faculties.