Introduction: Formal prehospital emergency medical services cover only a small percent of the population in most low- and middle-income countries. Increasing the involvement of laypersons in prehospital first aid can be an important part of the response to injuries and other medical emergencies. We sought to understand factors associated with the willingness of laypersons in Ghana to provide first aid to road traffic crash victims.
Method: This cross-sectional study purposively sampled four crash-prone areas in the Ashanti Region and 385 participants were interviewed. A structured questionnaire was used to ask about their demographic characteristics, first aid knowledge, and perceptions about first aid. Factors affecting willingness to provide first aid were assessed using multivariable logistic regression.
Results: Most participants were male (57.7%) and young (median age 28 years). A large majority (82.9%) were willing to provide first aid to crash victims. However, only 43.1% had been trained in first aid and only 40.4% had adequate knowledge of first aid (≥ 70% correct). Factors associated with willingness to provide first aid included first aid knowledge (aOR 17.27 for moderate knowledge vs. low knowledge, p=0.018; aOR 13.63 for adequate knowledge vs. low knowledge, p=0.030) and positive attitudes towards first aid, including the feeling that: every person should be trained in first aid (aOR 2.98, p=0.025), first aid increases survival (aOR 2.79, p=0.046), it is important to learn first aid (aOR 2.40, p=0.005), and bystanders have the responsibility to give first aid (aOR 4.34, p<0.001).
Conclusion: A high percentage of people in these crash-prone areas of Ashanti Region, Ghana were willing to provide first aid. However, under half had been trained in first aid or had adequate knowledge of first aid. A major implication of these findings is the need to increase the availability of quality training in first aid in these areas.
Keywords: Emergency care; Injury; Prehospital care; Trauma care.
© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of African Federation for Emergency Medicine.