By 2025, all secondary school pupils in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation will be gradually trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The initiative should ultimately enable the saving of 1,000 lives every year.
Following a pilot project which involved ten schools last year, 75 additional schools each year will integrate the programme “Education saves lives” into the school syllabus. The programme anticipates ten hours of teaching throughout pupils’ entire secondary education, during physical education lessons.
Each year there are some 11,000 cardiac arrests in Belgium, but only 9% of victims survive without after-effects, owing to medical care being received too late. The statistics place our country amongst the worst pupils of the class of Europe.
The Director of the French-speaking Belgian Life-saving League, Denis Ulweling, emphasizes, “Each minute lost following a cardiac arrest decreases the person’s survival chances by 10%. That is why initial steps by those at the scene can prove vital.” His organization is one of the project stakeholders.
Pupils will first be trained to recognise a cardiac arrest, call the emergency services, and take the first life-saving steps, such as cardiac massage and using a defibrillator by placing it on a dummy. The new initiative has an annual cost of €150,000, to be borne by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.