Boost for public health as Gauteng earns stripes in resuscitation training

Thousands of public healthcare providers will receive much-needed training in emergency skills after Gauteng became the third province to be granted international accreditation to provide life-saving resuscitation courses.

Lebone College of Emergency Care, a training centre under the Gauteng department of health, received accreditation from the American Heart Association (AHA) to become an international training centre (ITC) to offer basic life support for healthcare providers (BLSHCP) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) courses.

Lebone becomes the third public institution in South Africa to be accredited by AHA, a world leader in resuscitation science, education and training, to offer BLSHCP and ACLS training to public healthcare providers and professionals.

The other institutions are the Eastern Cape College of Emergency Care and the College of Emergency Care, situated in the Western Cape.

“Addressing the gap in resuscitation skills among healthcare workers and ensuring standardised care strengthens our health system’s capacity to save lives,” said Gauteng health and wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko on Thursday when AHA, which also publishes the official guidelines for cardiopulmonary care (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care, handed over the accreditation at Lebone College in Tshwane.

She said that as an ITC, Lebone College would be able to accredit more public facilities within the province’s health department as training sites so that a greater number of health workers could be trained through the province’s training network.

Hospitals, including Chris-Hani Baragwanath, Kalafong, Bertha Gxowa, Tembisa, Steve Biko, Charlotte Maxeke, George Mukhari, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, and Sebokeng will benefit as accredited sites in order to enhance the skills of healthcare workers.

“The expansion of accredited sites will also contribute to reducing regional disparities in healthcare quality, ensuring that all patients receive the same high standard of care regardless of their location,” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.

The Office of Health Standards Compliance, an independent body established in terms of the National Health Amendment Act of 2013 to ensure that public and private health facilities in South Africa comply with the required health standards, prescribes that a minimum of 80% of healthcare providers per facility must be BLSHCP-compliant for ideal hospital and clinic accreditation.

“This compliance can only be achieved through independent AHA accreditation, which Lebone College has obtained,” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.

She said the national department of health, the Gauteng health department’s training institutions, and the province’s regional training centre, including some hospitals, were previously providing AHA courses under the accreditation of private institutions.

The private institutions included the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa and the African Institute of Emergency Medicine.

“Studies have shown a knowledge gap in CPR among healthcare workers despite their exposure to resuscitation training,” Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

 Speaking to Sunday World, an AHA representative based in Botswana, Segolame Setlhare, said there were many other public institutions accredited as training sites under private ITCs in South Africa.

“The are four private ITCs in South Africa under which other public institutions fall as training sites,” he said.

Glenn Vanden Houten, AHA regional director for Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, who was also present at the handover in Pretoria, said high-quality CPRs when performed immediately, can double or even triple chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrest.

“Having more people equipped to provide high-quality CPR at any point along the chain of survival can help us improve survival rates,” he said.

The World Health Organisation reports cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause of death globally.

More than four out of five cardiovascular disease deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, and one third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under 70 years of age.

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