McMaster University team teaches hands-only CPR to individuals around the world

·3 min read
Over the last several years, team CPR Global members have travelled to remote places around the world to promote the use of hands-only CPR among bystanders, using demonstrational mannequins.
Over the last several years, team CPR Global members have travelled to remote places around the world to promote the use of hands-only CPR among bystanders, using demonstrational mannequins.

(CPR Global/Youtube - image credit)

A McMaster University team is teaching hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to individuals around the world who are unwilling, untrained or cannot perform full CPR.

CPR Global's supervisor Dr. Tapas Mondal says hands-only CPR is commonly used by bystanders when they witness a sudden collapse of an adult in public.

"Cardiac arrests [are] exponentially increasing in the developing world due to many bad habits in those countries [that come with] industrialization," Mondal told CBC News.

"Even though this is going up, the knowledge at the same time is not parallel to this problem.

"In the developed world there is a known solution to this, but in the developing world, this is missing," Mondal said.

The hands-only CPR procedure — which is just as effective as traditional CPR — consists of four steps and can help save lives until the ambulance arrives.

Dr. Tapas Mondal speaking to participants during a hands-only CPR training in 2018.
Dr. Tapas Mondal speaking to participants during a hands-only CPR training in 2018.

Mondal said CPR Global's goal is to give this knowledge, and change people's attitude.

Over the last several years, team members have travelled to remote places around the world to promote the use of hands-only CPR among bystanders, using demonstrational mannequins.

CPR Global's broad objectives are:

  • To develop online video modules in many different languages, which will be readily available to people across the globe by incorporating technology such as a mobile app.

  • To use these videos as low-cost training, certification, and skills evaluation tools in both developed and developing countries.

  • To encourage more women to become leaders in CPR as women in different cultures face barriers with regards to CPR procedures with a male resuscitator.

Mondal said CPR Global has trained hundreds in South East Asia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

"In Africa we have so far touched Uganda and Nigeria," he said.

Adil Merali says 'there's so much not only misconception but also stigma' about CPR.
Adil Merali says 'there's so much not only misconception but also stigma' about CPR.

Adil Merali, another CPR Global team member and faculty member with the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster, said they have also done online CPR training, including with a high school in China and his MBA class at the university.

"There are a lot of international students who are here in Canada who never had CPR training as part of their curriculum and there is so much misconception of what CPR is," Merali said.

"Some people think it is just mouth-to-mouth. There's so much not only misconception but also stigma."

'Getting rid of the misconceptions'

CPR Global has also partnered with local doctors to do CPR training at mosques in Hamilton.

"This was run at 5 a.m. after the morning prayers and we had three generations of women, like a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter to the hands-on training," Merali said.

"Again a lot of immigrants who came to Canada some years ago don't even know what CPR training is and are now getting exposed to the concept, getting rid of the misconceptions of what bystander CPR training is and getting training in this."

Funding, volunteers needed

Merali said there are two main hurdles facing CPR Global right now.

"One is the volunteers. We would love volunteers to join and help us conduct in-person or online-CPR training," he said.

"[We also need] funding for not only travelling to the very remote areas in different countries but also to buy the mannequins and to organize.

"Organization is a huge cost — everything from providing snacks, providing audio-visual, marketing material to attract people, to keeping documentation on who got training … it's a huge cost and everything is self-funded right now, we are just putting in our own money," Merali said.

CPR Global's team member, Muhammad Taaha Hassan
CPR Global's team member, Muhammad Taaha Hassan

Another team member, Muhammad Taaha Hassan, said while there are many students volunteering, they "would like to have even more members so we can have even more outreach to spread CPR global's work not just here in Canada but across the world."