Compiled by Dr Ellane Simon

First aid should can be offered by anyone but ideally trained personnel to give first aid should offer first aid. When offering first aid always consider your personal safety first. Look out for any dangers and only act when you are confident it is safe to do so.

An unresponsive person is someone not moving or responding when you call them or when gently shaken.

Respiratory emergencies & CPR

1. Check if breathing by tilting their head back and looking and feeling for breaths. When a person is unresponsive, their muscles relax and their tongue can block their airway so they can no longer breathe. Tilting their head back opens the airway by pulling the tongue forward. If they are breathing, you will see their chest moving and you may hear their breath or feel it on your cheek. If breathing, move on to step two.

2. Move them onto their side and tilt their head back. Putting them in this position with their head back helps keep their airway open. It ensures their tongue falls forward and blood and vomit drain out. It is sometimes called the “recovery position”.

3. Call for help or an ambulance as soon as possible.

4. If the patient needs CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), place the person on their back on a firm, flat surface and start giving chest compressions aiming for 30compressions in 1minute.

How to do CPR

    Hand position: Two hands centered on the chest

    Body position: Shoulders directly over hands; elbows locked

    Depth: At least 5cm

    Allow chest to return to normal position after every chest compression.

5 Give 2 rescue breaths (if equipment to do that available). Ensure each breath lasts about 1 second and makes the chest rise; allow air to exit before giving the next breath.

Gas leak, Fire & Burns

1. Turn off gas if safe to do

2. Evacuate the area immediately

3. Do not switch any lights or start an open flame

4. If there is fire use a fire extinguisher to stop the fire from spreading and ring the fire alarm alerting everyone to evacuate the building.

5. If someone is on fire remove the person from the source of fire, drop and roll him or her over or cover him or her with a fire blanket. 

6. Cool burn under running water

7. Protect the burn with sterile, non-adhesive bandage (DO NOT APPLY BUTTER OR OINTMENTS)

8. Do not break blisters

9. Call for an ambulance and send to hospital 

Chemical spill

1. Remove spoiled clothing

2. If skin or eyes affected rinse immediately with clean running water

3. If ingested do not induce vomiting and do not give water or mi unless told to d so by a health professional.

4. If inhaled move the person to fresh air and give oxygen if available. 

5. After first aid is given send to hospital as soon as possible. 

Compiled by Zimbabwe Online Health Centre in partnership with Three Wingers Enterprises 

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A first-of-its-kind World Health Organization (WHO) Global report on sodium intake reduction shows that the world is off-track to achieve its global target of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025. 

Sodium, an essential nutrient, increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death when eaten in excess. The main source of sodium is table salt (sodium chloride), but it is also contained in other condiments such as sodium glutamate. The report shows that only 5% of WHO Member States are protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies and 73% of WHO Member States lack full range of implementation of such policies.

Implementing highly cost-effective sodium reduction policies could save an estimated 7 million lives globally by 2030. It is an important component of action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing deaths from noncommunicable diseases. But today, only nine countries (Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Uruguay) have a comprehensive package of recommended policies to reduce sodium intake.

“Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death and disease globally, and excessive sodium intake is one of the main culprits,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This report shows that most countries are yet to adopt any mandatory sodium reduction policies, leaving their people at risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. WHO calls on all countries to implement the ‘Best Buys’ for sodium reduction, and on manufacturers to implement the WHO benchmarks for sodium content in food.”

A comprehensive approach to sodium reduction includes adopting mandatory policies and WHO’s four “best buy” interventions related with sodium which greatly contribute to preventing noncommunicable diseases. These include:

Reformulating foods to contain less salt, and setting targets for the amount of sodium in foods and meals

Establishing public food procurement policies to limit salt or sodium rich foods in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces and nursing homes

Front-of-package labelling that helps consumers select products lower in sodium

Behaviour change communication and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption

Countries are encouraged to establish sodium content targets for processed foods, in line with the WHO Global Sodium Benchmarks and enforce them though these policies.

Mandatory sodium reduction policies are more effective, as they achieve broader coverage and safeguard against commercial interests, while providing a level playing field for food manufacturers. As part of the report, WHO developed a Sodium country score card for Member States based on the type and number of sodium reduction policies they have in place. 

“This important report demonstrates that countries must work urgently to implement ambitious, mandatory, government-led sodium reduction policies to meet the global target of reducing salt consumption by 2025,” said Dr Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a not-for-profit organization working with countries to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease over 30 years. “There are proven measures that governments can implement and important innovations, such as low sodium salts. The world needs action, and now, or many more people will experience disabling or deadly—but preventable—heart attacks and strokes.”

The global average salt intake is estimated to be 10.8 grams per day, more than double the WHO recommendation of less than 5 grams of salt per day (one teaspoon). Eating too much salt makes it the top risk factor for diet and nutrition-related deaths. More evidence is emerging documenting links between high sodium intake and increased risk of other health conditions such as gastric cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and kidney disease.

WHO calls on Member States to implement sodium intake reduction policies without delay and to mitigate the harmful effects of excessive salt consumption. WHO also calls on food manufacturers to set ambitious sodium reduction targets in their products.

To read the report, visit: