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  Given the recent events involving the prominent actor, Junior Pope Odonwodo, commonly known as Junior Pope, it has become apparent that Nigerians lack sufficient emergency medical skills. Each day, we are exposed to various awareness courses and programs presented by concerned medical and non-medical professionals, equipping us with life-saving skills. However, many Nigerians have disregarded these initiatives, turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the importance of such knowledge.
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The ongoing situations involving public figures like Junior Pope highlight the critical need for a more proactive approach towards educating and empowering individuals across Nigeria. Despite the efforts made by dedicated professionals to disseminate crucial information and techniques, there remains a concerning gap in the readiness of Nigerians to respond adequately during medical crises. This lack of preparedness underscores the urgency for broader engagement and adoption of essential emergency response practices within our communities.

Basic Emergency Medical Skills

1. Basic Medical Assessment

  • Begin by attempting to elicit a response from the individual by tapping and calling out to them.
  • Ensure their airway is clear and observe their breathing.
  • Check for a pulse at the carotid artery in the neck or the brachial artery in the arm.
  • Observe chest movement to assess breathing.
  • Record vital signs like heart rate, and respiratory rate.
  • Use this data to promptly evaluate the seriousness of the situation and administer appropriate first aid or contact emergency medical services if necessary.

2. CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

  • CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a vital emergency procedure used to maintain blood circulation and oxygenation when someone’s heartbeat or breathing has stopped.
  • Check for responsiveness, and call emergency services.
  • Perform chest compressions (at least 2 inches deep at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute).
  • Give rescue breaths (2 breaths after every 30 compressions).
  • Use an AED if available.
  • It’s essential to take a CPR certification course to learn and practice these techniques properly, as they can significantly improve the chances of survival in cardiac arrest and drowning situations.

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3. Choking Response

  • The choking response involves immediate action to assist someone who is choking and unable to breathe or speak.
  • them to cough forcefully if they can, and if not, perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre) to dislodge the obstruction.
  • To perform the Heimlich maneuver, stand behind the person, and wrap your arms around the bottom of their rib cage. Make a fist with one hand, grasp your fist with the other hand and thrust inward and upward forcefully.
  • It’s important to continue this until the object is expelled or emergency help arrives.

4. Seizure Response

  • First, stay calm and keep others away from the person to prevent injury.
  • Do not restrain the individual during the seizure; instead, clear the area of any sharp or dangerous objects to minimize harm.
  • Place something soft under their head to prevent head injury, and gently roll them onto one side to help keep their airway clear and prevent choking if there’s any discharge or vomitus from the mouth.
  • Time the seizure to track its duration. After the seizure ends, stay with the person and offer reassurance as they regain consciousness.
  • If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, call emergency services immediately.
  • Avoid putting anything in the person’s mouth during a seizure.

5. Fainting Response

  • First, gently guide the person to the ground to prevent injury from falling.
  • If possible, lay them flat on their back and elevate their legs slightly to help restore blood flow to the brain.
  • Once the person regains consciousness, help them sit up slowly and offer water if they are alert and able to drink.
  • Alert emergency services

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These emergency medical skills represent only a fraction of the many critical techniques available. We must take proactive steps to enhance our preparedness for emergencies as they occur. One essential way to improve preparedness is by seeking certifications in basic emergency medical skills. By broadening our skill set and knowledge base through certifications, we can effectively respond to emergencies.
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This article was first published on 11th April 2024


I am a passionate health writer. Recognizing the lack of comprehensive health knowledge among my non-medical peers, I took to health writing to provide scientifically sound and easily understandable health information.

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