It has been estimated that as many as 90 000 South Africans suffer a head injury every year. In many cases this results in a serious loss of cognitive functioning which leaves the victims totally or partially dependent on others. This is why it is so important that our society works together to prevent head injuries where possible and to effectively treat those who have suffered such injuries.”So said Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager emergency, trauma, transplant and corporate social investment ahead of World Head Injury Awareness Day, 20 March 2013. Toubkin noted that Netcare’s emergency departments around the country deal with large numbers of head injury cases every year.
“To help address this problem, Netcare will be launching a Trauma Injury Prevention (TIP) programme a highly ambitious and exciting initiative that we expect to save many lives, to coincide with World Head Injury Awareness Day. The primary aim of TIP is to use educational initiatives to help prevent healthy children, youth and elderly South Africans from experiencing trauma injuries.”
According to Rene Grobler, the trauma programme manager at Netcare Milpark Hospital, who developed the TIP programme, the initiative seeks to achieve the following:
- Provide information regarding injuries and how to avoid them.
- Encourage people not to engage in risky behaviour such as drinking and driving.
- Change behaviours, for example encourage people to wear their seatbelts when driving.
Trauma centres which are accredited as Level 1 by the Trauma Society of South Africa are required to have an outreach injury prevention programme. Toubkin says this provided the initial impetus for developing the Trauma Injury Prevention programme for Netcare Milpark and Netcare Union hospitals’ emergency departments, both of which have Level 1 trauma centres. However, Netcare is planning to expand the reach and impact of the programme by involving all of its emergency departments.
Grobler says the programme will kick off with several educational programmes at schools. On World Head Injury Awareness Day, the TIP team will be educating learners at two Gauteng primary schools on the importance of using protective gear such as helmets when riding bicycles, quadbikes and tricycles or when roller blading and skateboarding.
“We will also show the learners how to fit their helmets properly to ensure the maximum level of protection,” observes Grobler. “As we all know children at primary school level not only engage in some risky activities such as bike riding, but they are also highly impressionable and it is therefore the ideal time to get them actively involved in safety matters.”
TIP concentrates on five groups of people namely pre-natal parents, primary school learners, teens between 12 and 18 years of age and the elderly. Parents will be able to attend ‘Baby University”, classes that will explore subjects such as burns, house safety, drowning, child abuse and first aid. Aside from helmet safety, younger children will also learn about the importance of wearing seatbelts when travelling, road safety, water safety, animal safety and sports injuries. The programme for teens focuses on the dangers of distracted driving, driving without a seatbelt, drinking/drugs and driving, depression and motorbike safety. The initiative for the elderly includes education on falls, driving without a seatbelt and drinking and driving.
“Netcare would welcome partnerships which will assist in implementing the various aspects of the programme and invites interested organisations to contact us,” adds Grobler. “We are currently rolling out the initiative in Gauteng and plan for all the Netcare emergency departments around the country to also participate.”
“The programme has been carefully designed to take advantage of the considerable expertise that is available through the Netcare emergency departments to assist the people of Gauteng in preventing trauma incidents,” notes Grobler. “We at Netcare are excited about this initiative and expect it to have a highly positive impact on our communities,” she concludes.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Monique Vanek
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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