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Red Cross trains police on life-saving techniques, humanitarian laws

Aug 13, 2015, 10:11 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Gambia Red Cross Society recently concluded a four-day training for 30 police officers from different regions across The Gambia on First Aid and other life-saving techniques, and humanitarian laws.

The training was organised as part of a memorandum of understanding between the Red Cross and the Gambia Police Force (GPF).

Speaking at the closing ceremony held at the police headquarters in Banjul, Madam Fatou Gaye, secretary general of GRCS, said the training was the 6th one organised by the Red Cross for personnel of GPF on annual basis.

The latest training, she said, focused on First Aid and humanitarian laws because these are among “the core functions” of the daily operations of the police.

Madam Gaye noted that First Aid is needed everywhere at any given time – be it at homes, workplaces, or in the streets because accident can happen at all these places at any time.

“So for the police to have the requisite knowledge on it [First Aid] will help them to save lives of many victims,” Madam Gaye said.

She explained that they have plans to expand the training by conducting it at the regional levels for wider understanding.

The Red Cross SG noted that the GPF and the Ministry of Health should reconsider their cooperation by allowing doctors and nurses to attend to victims of emergency on time without waiting for police presence or report.

“People are suffering and I think the IGP and the health ministry should sign an MoU that will let medical personnel to practise First Aid on victims in emergency circumstances,” she suggested.

The Red Cross SG noted that many times, when accident occur and the victims are taken to health facilities, doctors and nurses would say they are not attending to the victims without the presence of a police.

“This is costing many lives,” Madam Gaye said.“Some people said it is a law but I have made research in all the law books in The Gambia I did not see that provision.”

For his part, Modou Sowe, deputy Inspector General of Police, said the GPF is still undergoing some transformation, thus needs people that have knowledge in various fields.

He said the GPF aspires to have well-instructed and prepared personnel in providing First Aid operations in emergency situations across the country.

“This is why we nominated participants from all the police administrative regions of the country,” officer Sowe said.

Responding to Red Cross’ demand of allowing medical personnel to provide First Aid to victims even without the presence of police, Mr Sowe said treatment of injury victims or certain cases in the presence of the police is not in any law including the Constitution of The Gambia.

But, he said, it is a regulation from the executive that was introduced to save the medical personnel.

“The directive doesn’t even cover accidents but wounds of weapons, physical assault, gun crimes, machete cuts, etc,” he said.“This is because if such victims eventually died without police attention, the doctors may not be saved.”

“This has nothing to do with traffic accidents.Many doctors are not clear about this and they should be informed because if a victim of accident died in this course, the doctors or nurses in charge can be charged with negligence.”