Giving blood and doing sport
The Blood Service of Belgian Red Cross-Flanders is constantly looking for new ways to increase the number of donors to the blood bank. With a systematic review we wanted to check whether sportsmen and women could be encouraged to donate blood on a regular basis. To date there is little clarity about the effects of blood donation on the performance and physiological parameters of sportsmen and women, with the result that some of them hesitate to go to blood transfusion centres. Various (bio)medical databases were carefully searched, and 18 studies were analysed in detail. The research showed that non-professional sportsmen and women can donate blood without suffering long-term effects on their sporting activities. However, the studies were of poor quality and further research in this area would bring clarity. In 2015, in collaboration with the Catholic University of Leuven, a study will be set up to measure the effect of blood donations on sporting performance.
Evidence-based first aid guidelines for India (IFAG)
In 2014, having already been involved in the successful development of evidence-based first aid guidelines for Europe (EFAM) and Africa (AFAM), the CEBaP finalised the development of evidence-based first aid guidelines for India (IFAG). This was facilitated by a collaboration between the Indian Red Cross, Belgian Red Cross-Flanders and a panel of Indian experts including various medical disciplines and experienced Indian first-aid teachers. The CEBaP was responsible for collecting the best available scientific evidence. Examples of effective interventions for the Indian context are the drinking of rice water in case of diarrhoea and gargling with water or tea to prevent upper respiratory infections. These guidelines will form the basis of a range of first aid materials, adapted to the diversity and needs of the Indian population.
Evidence-based first aid trajectory for schools
Under the motto "Catch Them Young", Belgian Red Cross-Flanders believes that pre-school, primary and secondary school children should have basic knowledge, skills and attitudes concerning first aid. With this in mind, the First Aid service and Youth Red Cross, in collaboration with the CEBaP and a multidisciplinary panel of experts, developed an evidence-based first aid trajectory for schools. It offers teachers a practical instrument with which to achieve end goals and monitor the development of pupils.
Publication of methodological charter
The quality of guidelines and systematic reviews varies greatly. Guidelines can, for example, be developed using a consensus-based method, which tries to find a consensus between the opinions of various experts without looking at the scientific literature, or using an evidence-based method, whereby a systematic literature review is the starting point. Since it is not always clear how guidelines and systematic reviews have been developed, the CEBaP believed it was important to be transparent about the methodology that we use. This methodology was described in a methodological charter, as well as in a scientific article published at the beginning of 2014 in the International Journal of Evidence-based Healthcare. The article outlines (1) the enormous degree of variation in terminology and quality in the world of Evidence-Based Practice, (2) how important evidence-based works are for an aid organisation like Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, and (3) what methods are used to enable evidence-based work to be done.
Methodological quality of blood transfusion guidelines
The Blood Service provides hospitals throughout Flanders with a constant supply of reliable and safe blood products, which are then predominantly used for blood transfusions. In the context of optimal effectiveness and efficiency it is important that recommendations on blood transfusion are scientifically substantiated. For this reason CEBaP, in collaboration with the Blood Service, investigated the methodological quality of blood transfusion guidelines and the scientific evidence behind a series of recommendations on blood transfusion.
International resuscitation and first aid guidelines (ILCOR)
The CEBaP is helping ILCOR (International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation) to develop international resuscitation and first aid guidelines. ILCOR is a global network of resuscitation councils and publishes 5-yearly up-to-date resuscitation guidelines, based on scientific studies. In the current cycle a ‘first aid task force', of which CEBaP is a member, was also set up. Scientific studies were searched to answer a whole range of questions on first aid (for example: ‘what is the best physical position for the victim in the event of shock?’) and corresponding recommendations were then written. The consensus meeting takes place in Dallas at the end of January 2015; this will be the last stage in the completion of these guidelines, which will be published in October 2015. On the basis of these guidelines the IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) will publish its own guidelines adapted specifically to the Red Cross context. The CEBaP will be involved in this process as well.