In high income countries (HICs) emergency medical services are able to respond rapidly to drowning incidents and have trained and equipped personnel to give resuscitation at the scene, during transportation, and in hospital. In addition bystanders are often trained in basic life support and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately at the scene. Many drowning victims in HICs survive till hospitalisation and studies suggest that victims are more likely to survive following early bystander CPR. However, in Bangladesh drowning victims do not receive immediate, trained life support at the scene and during transportation. Bystanders with CPR skills and emergency medical systems in rural areas do not exist.
A first responder training programme including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been developed covering 20 villages in Raiganj, Bangladesh. Its objective are to develop and implement a first responder training program, assess the feasibility to train lay persons with low literacy in the rural communities in Bangladesh, and to explore the acceptability of the training programme in the community.
Over 2,400 local volunteers, including adolescent boys and girls, received a two-day training and regular refreshers training on the first response. During 2012 – 2013 over 150 victims received first response. Among them 16 children or either rescued or resuscitated for drowning.