First aid is the initial care given in an emergency, to protect life and to prevent worsening of the condition of the victims, until they are undertaken by a professional medical person. It is essential to know basic first aid as a responsible person in society. The current study was conducted to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices on first aid among advanced level students in government schools in Gampaha educational zone.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among 510 grade 12 students in five randomly selected schools. A pre-tested self-administered questionnaire consisting of 25 multiple choice questions on knowledge and 10 statements formed as a Likert scale to assess attitudes. Chi-square test was used to assess the associations and a p-value <0.05 was considered as significant.
Student’s mean first aid knowledge was 57.4%±13.5% according to the score grading and 1% (n=5) were categorized as having “inadequate knowledge”, 30.6% (n=156) had “moderate knowledge”, 61.4% (n=313) were having “good knowledge” and 7.1% (n=36) were categorized as having “excellent knowledge”. Out of the sample, only 16.9% (n=86) students were previously trained in first aid. The overall attitudes towards first aid was positive and most of the students (98.8%, n=504) believed it is essential to have first aid knowledge. Their willingness to give first aid for emergencies was generally positive. There was only a slight correlation between knowledge and attitudes (r=0.134). There was a statistically significant relationship between first aid knowledge and advanced level stream (χ2=31.7, p<0.001) where biology students were more knowledgeable than students in other streams. The students who had followed health science in their O/L had a significantly higher knowledge score when compared to others (χ2=12.4, p=0.006). However, previous training on first aid and gender had no significant relationship with their knowledge (p>0.05).
Addition of first aid as a part of the school curriculum and improving the standards of the existing first aid training programs is recommended. Further studies should be undertaken to assess the practical skills of students, as the current study mainly focused on the assessment of the theory knowledge.