GEORGE NEWS - A campaign to teach families through their children how to recognise the three main symptoms of a stroke, was launched in George.
Johann Prinsloo, former head of a well-known emergency medical service, now the owner of 911 Paramedical Services and also the Angels Stroke Initiative Ambassador in the Southern Cape, was one of the first in South Africa to do a pilot run with a newly developed programme dubbed FAST Heroes 112.
Prinsloo, together with representatives of the Angels Project, introduced the sponsored programme at George South Primary School and Klouterwoud Preschool during November where 177 children from age five up to Grade 1 participated. They were rewarded at a special and fun closing event on Friday 29 November where each received a FAST Heroes T-shirt.
"I am truly pleased with the feedback from the schools and parents. I also tested the programme on my own five-year-old daughter, and it is amazing how well she picked up the information and can recall it," says Prinsloo.
The FAST Heroes programme was developed by the Department of Educational and Social Policy of the University of Macedonia.
"In South Africa, more than 360 people suffer from a stroke every day, of whom 90 are left disabled and 110 die. If a stroke sufferer can get to a stroke-ready hospital within three hours, disability and death can be prevented," says Prinsloo.
"Here in our country where a high percentage of children grow up in the homes of their grandparents, this campaign can help save a lot of lives and prevent disability. We teach the children, but also engage their family members."
Through three endearing grandparent superhero figures featuring in short videos and in the material packs that each child receives, the symptoms and emergency number (112) are captured in their mind. They also take home posters that they put up as a reminder.
Parents or guardians can share in the fun online by registering the family on the FAST Heroes website.
The programme is offered in five one-hour sessions over a period of time at the school. "The pilot run was highly successful and the possibility of offering the programme at other schools in the district is very high," says Prinsloo.
He also extends a special thanks to the teachers (Amanda Rademeyer, Hedy Koegelenberg, Alphia Engelbrecht, Lorainne Kriel, Kathy Germishys and Christa van der Merwe) who put in extra hours to make the project a success. Prinsloo can be contacted on 076 577 9779.
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