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Brussels Red Cross to start using female mannequins in first aid training

17:14 04/03/2024

The Red Cross in Brussels will finally begin using female mannequins in first aid training following the launch of such a device from Red Cross Flanders.

“There are indications in the scientific literature that women are less likely to be resuscitated than men,” said the Red Cross’s Bert Van Driessche.

“If this training dummy will help ensure that women are given aid faster, we should use it.”

It is not yet clear whether the difference in resuscitation aid given to women - for which Van Driessche said there was no scientific consensus but ample evidenc - is due to diffidence, social norms, the fact that symptoms are less obvious or less well known in women, or simply to the fact that a female mannequin was never practised on during training.

Others suggest that people are more wary of attempting to resuscitate a woman for fear of it being viewed as assault.

“But to remove possible barriers, it may make sense to also work with a female doll during training,” Van Driessche said.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that our first aid training programmes are science-based, and that we closely monitor the scientific literature to adjust our guidelines where necessary.”

The Flemish minister for Brussels, Benjamin Dalle, pointed out that the large backlog in medical treatment of women in general is well documented.

“This is partly because the symptoms of a number of ailments are less known in women,” Dalle said.

“But women are more than ‘smaller men’, and should also have the highest chance of successful resuscitation.

"I am therefore particularly pleased that Red Cross Flanders Brussels Capital will be the first to deploy female training mannequins. I hope it will encourage even more people to take first aid training."

Written by Helen Lyons