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Wellington
Wellington district gets Efar training

On Tuesday 11 February Keagen Gertse from Wellington spearheaded a campaign to expand the Provincial Hospital’s Emergency First Aid Response (Efar) training to his community to fill the gap in service delivery.

An Emergency Medical Services’ (EMS) official came to the Wellington community centre to provide a few hours of basic medical training like CPR so that people in the community, which often are the first responders, would know how to assist a patient in case of an emergency.

Gertse felt a calling to advance Efar training in his community, based on his belief in active citizenship.

“We have a civil responsibility to ensure that we all have access to basic services which speak to our humanity,” says Gertse.

“The local EMS have long served our people with top quality, emergency medical services and in most instances, have saved lives.

“It is my belief that the time has come for the community to plough back into this provincial initiative.”

According to Terrence Klaase, station manager of the Drakenstein EMS, the Efar project is aimed at areas that don’t have or are far from an ambulance station. At any given time the Drakenstein has four ambulances available for the entire area.

“We get a lot of emergency cases on the farms and the demand exceeds the ambulances which we have available,” says Klaase.

“So the idea is that the laymen can identify, recognise and start [with basic emergency care]. When they call for an ambulance they can give accurate information so we know which resource to send.”

Although Efar is not a first aid course per se, it is accredited by Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town.

“On completion the candidate is awarded a certificate of attendance and a card that says he is an Efar member and is able to assist in an emergency.

Klaase stresses that their lack of resources means they have to prioritise emergency cases.

Because of the high call rate we have to prioritise. When someone is having a heart attack and another is having abdominal pain we prioritise the heart attack.”

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