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Indian First Aid Manual (IFAM) Expert Panel Meeting (16-17 Jan, 2014)
28.01.2014 - New Delhi, India

The Indian Red Cross Society in collaboration with the Belgian Red Cross/Flanders deliberated upon recommendations on First Aid for various conditions based on hard medical evidence for developing the Indian First Aid Manual (IFAM). The first IFAM Expert Panel Meeting was held on the 16th and 17th of January 2014 at the Multi-Conference facility of the National Headquarters under the Chairmanship of Dr S P Agarwal, the Secretary General of the Indian Red Cross Society who is also the President of the Experts Panel. The inaugural function was attended by Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services, Govt. of India, Prof M C Mishra, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, as also Mme Christ’l Joris, the President of the Belgian Red Cross. The Expert Panel is comprised of experts drawn from Jai Prakash Narain Apex Trauma Centre (AIIMS), National Centre for Disease Control and Centre for Disease Control (India), along with experts from the IRCS, St Johns Ambulance (I) and the Belgian Red Cross/Flanders. The project of developing the manual was initiated in January 2013, at the National Headquarters, IRCS.

The President of the Belgian Red Cross, Mme Christ’l Joris speaking at the IFAM
At the Experts Panel Meeting, the President of the Belgian Red Cross said that both the national societies will be enriched with the partnership as the Manual will go a long way in spreading available knowledge amongst the masses, especially since the age old Indian system of medicine is highly practised and accepted by millions in India and could be shared by many across the world.

Welcoming the participants, Dr S P Agarwal said that the IRCS and SJA (I) will incorporate the new evidence based First Aid manual in their trainings. At the moment IRCS and SJA (I) are training more than 6 lac First Aiders per year throughout the country. He also said that today there are 900 million cell-phone users in the country and the IRCS is contemplating the dissemination of First Aid knowledge through this medium so as to benefit maximum number of people.

Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services, Govt. of India felt that all traditional systems of medicine practised in India have a lot to offer and should be integrated in the Manual. This Manual is positioned to be a lay-persons Manual, which will help the most vulnerable of the population.
Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services, Govt. Of India addressing the meeting

Prof. Mishra, Director AIIMS, highlighted the fact that he had seen many a people lose their lives in accidents and emergency situations because of lack of information and usually in such situations it is the local people of the nearby areas who come to help. Therefore right first aid knowledge was absolutely pertinent.

The experts felt that a lot of knowledge from the existing First Aid Manual of the IRCS & SJA (I) could be used in the new upgraded evidence based Manual. The first day of the meeting was spent in explaining the research criterion taken into account while preparing the recommendations for various diseases. First Aid field experiences of the Belgian Red Cross/Flanders were explained and presentations were made about preparation of the European and African first aid manuals. The Belgian Red Cross also manages a Centre of Evidence-Based practise (CEBaP), which helped in putting forth the European and African First Aid manuals. The second day of the meeting was utilized in reviewing the drafted IFAM guidelines of the CEBaP and panel discussions.

Experts deliberating on research and First Aid recommendations for various diseases
There were detailed deliberations on innovations in first aid through evidence based projects. A variety of disease conditions were presented to the panel for discussions, ranging from Diarrhoea, Fever, Emergency Childbirth, Chest Pain, Animal Bites, Head Injuries, Pneumonia, Malaria etc.

Many more such meetings will be held in the near future to firm up the guidelines. Apart from First Aid, a section on preventive measures for the various disease conditions will also be detailed in the Manual. All First aid interventions are aided by evidence researches and behaviour studies on prevalent methods of First Aid. Once prepared, this manual and other First Aid materials thus prepared will be shared with the branches for use in the First Aid Training Programmes.

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