Awka – Anambra State Ministry of Health on Thursday, concluded a 3-day training workshop for health workers and stakeholders on basic life support skills.
Participants at the workshop held at Jerome Udorji Secretariat in Awka, who were drawn from 21 Local Government Areas of Anambra State, were taught on how to handle cardiac emergency situations.
The workshop also featured practical demonstrations of life support caregiving and use of Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a lightweight, portable, computerized device that can identify an abnormal heart rhythm that needs a shock.
Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala while stressing the importance of the training, noted that Anambra was the first state in Nigeria to organise such training on health emergencies.
He emphasised the importance of basic life support skills, adding that ignorance of such has led to death of persons experiencing cardiac arrest as their rate of survival reduces by ten per cent.
“Emergencies do not choose their time and victim. If we delay, something else can happen. This is not just a hospital based thing; it is for everyone in the society. We need to know basic life support skills in emergency cases as community members and as well everyone should have a basic knowledge of AED system,” he said.
Dr. Okpala explained that the AED can then deliver a shock that stops the abnormal rhythm and allow the heart’s normal rhythm to return.
“It’s simple to operate. They allow laypersons and healthcare providers to attempt defibrillation safely.
“The shock stops the abnormal rhythm. This resets the heart’s electrical system so a normal organised heart rhythm can return. If effective circulation returns, victim’s heart muscle is once again able to pump blood. The victim will have a heartbeat that produces a palpable pulse that can be felt by the rescuer,” the health expert explained.
According to him, early defibrillation increases the chances of survival from cardiac arrest caused by an abnormal or irregular heart rhythm.
The commissioner commended Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano for his support and dedication in building the healthcare system of the state, adding that soon, Anambra will get to an enviable position with the recent development and health innovations sponsored by the government.
The Programme Facilitator, Dr. Tochukwu Osuoji from Code Red Emergency Medical Services, said that the training was purely on emergencies and participants are expected to know basic things in emergency situations.
He charged them to take the lessons learned from the workshop down to their respective LGAs so as to increase the knowledge of life support skills among the populace.
“You are the persons that will go down to the grassroots and train others. Therefore you must take whatever we are doing here seriously. At the state level, we will continue to provide technical support to make your work seamless,” he assured.