The Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) Deputy Secretary General, Titus Makosha, is concerned about the lack of first aid training in the country. He attributes the challenge to loss of lives during accidents.
Speaking at the weekend at Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) inter-departmental first aid games, Makosha said frequently, helpers at accidents unknowingly worsen injuries because of lack of basic training in first aid. He also said in some instances, lack of first aid knowledge leads to preventable deaths.
“On a number of occasions, people have pronounced accident victims dead, while in fact they are still alive,” he said.
OLDM held its 33rd annual interdepartmental first aid games in a bid to sensitize its employees on safety and emergence handling preparations.
Makosha said that with requisite first aid skills, communities and their environments become safer, especially in roads, homes and workplaces.
He urged community members to treat first aid as a personal social responsibility to saving lives. The BRCS deputy secretary general further commended OLDM for coming up with the first aid games, saying that failure to conduct such an event has the potential to expose any mine to possible breach Regulations 39 -50 of Botswana Mines Quarries, Works and Machinery Act.
“Failure to conduct such events has the potential to expose any mine to possible breach of the Botswana Mines Quarries Act. This kind of events assist in meeting the requirements of this stipulated regulation,” he said.
Makosha added that certain skills are considered essential to the provision of first aid and are taught ubiquitously, saying that the universal existence of Red Cross ensures standardization of the teachings, particularly the SABC’s (Safety, Airway, Breathing and Circulation) of first aid, which focus on critical life saving interventions. He said such an exercise must be rendered before treatment of less serious injuries.
“Attention must be first brought to the safety of the area and airway to ensure it is clear. Obstruction of airway is a life threatening emergency. Following evaluation of the airway, a first aid attendant would determine the adequacy of breathing and provide rescue breathing if necessary,” he said.
Speaking to The Telegraph on the sidelines of the event, OLDM acting general manager, Bakani Motlhabani, said the interdepartmental first aid games which have been running for 33 years are a sign of the mine’s commitment towards the health and safety of employees and their preparedness towards emergencies.
“These first aid games are in line with Regulation 39 -50 of the Botswana Mines Quarries, Works and Machinery Act. Through such games, we are trying to prepare our workforce towards emergencies and to equip them with first aid competency. The first aid games also extend beyond the workplace as the employees can be able to apply the skills they have acquired to help others even in their families and the communities at large,” he said.
On the theme of the event, “First Aid, Educate, Practice and Save lives,” he said that the theme implies that it is important for people to be trained in first aid, put it into practice and help save lives. He said that through practice, the employees and the community at large could master first aid and help them develop confidence.
“In any workplace there should be at least one or two people who have first aid skills so that they can help save lives during emergencies,” he said.
Nineteen teams from different OLDM departments participated in the games and two teams, Plant 1 and Plant 2, scooped position one and two respectively. The two teams have been selected to represent OLDM at the coming Inter-Mine first aid games which will be held in Jwaneng in October this year.