Windhoek-Cardiff University in the United Kingdom is leading essential life-saving training for police officers in Namibia to help tackle the extremely high death rates on the country’s roads.
Professor Judith Hall has worked with partners at another university in Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan University, to design a low cost ‘trauma pack’ as part of Cardiff University’s transformative Phoenix Project.
Police officers will be trained to use the trauma packs, designed for deployment following traffic collisions.
Doctors from the Welsh National Health Service will carry out the training from May 29 to 09 June with each police officer receiving a day’s training ahead of a six-month trial in Windhoek.
The Phoenix Project, a partnership with the University of Namibia to improve health and reduce poverty in Namibia, has just been extended until at least 2022.
Professor Hall, who leads the Phoenix Project, said: “The trauma packs will save lives because too many people are dying following crashes on Namibia’s roads.”
“Once the training has been carried out, these police officers will be equipped to carry out basic life-saving techniques until medical help arrives at the scene.
“If the pilot scheme works, we’ll then look to roll it out across the country.”
The six-month pilot project – working with Windhoek City Police, Nampol, emergency services personnel and the Motor Vehicle Accident fund – will see Wales-based doctors led by Dr Brian Jenkins from Cardiff University training police officers in Windhoek.
The doctors, mainly from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, will teach 150-200 police officers life-saving procedures using the trauma packs, which contain equipment such as neck collars, bandages and a stretcher.
The officers, who are due to be equipped with the packs from September 2017, will use them in the first ‘golden hour’ following traffic collisions when lives are most likely to be saved.
Police officers were chosen to take part because they are often first at a crash scene.
Superintendent Cillie Auala, Windhoek City Police public relations officer, said: “This is a great initiative. Taking into account the country’s high accident rate, and being the first responding officers to accident scenes, I am confident that this training would play a significant role in ensuring that many lives are saved.”
Professor Kenneth Matengu, the University of Namibia (Unam)’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Development), said: “University of Namibia is delighted working alongside Cardiff University and our police forces in this important drive for road safety.
“This new, easy to use, affordable trauma pack will help save the lives of our citizens. Our police officers will receive first responder education and be able to immediately take the correct actions with the trauma pack in road traffic collisions,” stated Professor Matengu.
Trauma packs designer Dr Clara Watkins, of Cardiff School of Art & Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University, said: “The design of the packs has been modified so that they’re tailor-made to fulfil the needs of Namibia.
“They’re low cost, portable and contain essential medical equipment that will help police officers to carry out basic life-saving treatment following crashes.”
The packs – developed with clinicians from the Welsh National Health Service and industry partner BCB International – have been field tested in Zambia through Professor Hall’s Mothers of Africa charity, with support from the Welsh Ambulance Service and first responders in Wales.
International Red Cross and the UK’s Royal Centre for Defence Medicine have also assisted with testing and development.
The Phoenix Project is part of Cardiff University’s Transforming Communities initiative to boost health, wealth and well-being in communities around Wales and further afield.
Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan announced in March 2017 the Phoenix Project would be extended for at least another five years.