About us

When laypeople provide initial assistance to an ill or injured person, this is called “first aid”. It is defined by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as the “immediate help provided to a sick and injured person until professional help arrives. The first aid provider should be understood as a layperson with basic first aid knowledge and skills”.  According to  First Aid Task Force of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), first aid interventions aim to ‘preserve life, alleviate suffering, prevent further illness or injury and promote recovery’. Both the IFRC and ILCOR first aid definitions mention that additional care by professional help might be needed after first aid.

The Cochrane First Aid Field (CFA) aims to be a global, independent network of people interested in developing, disseminating and implementing high-quality research evidence within the field of first aid. We will form the link between the major players in the field of first aid and Cochrane, as the major evidence-synthesizing organisation. Furthermore, we aim to become the go-to resource for high-quality, first aid-related systematic reviews. The target audience of this Field are laypeople providing first aid, but also the people who develop and provide education and resources to this population.

We envision a Field that on the one hand is able to translate the practical needs that exist within first aid as research priorities, but on the other hand also aims to disseminate existing first aid-related Cochrane evidence to a broad audience in a variety of forms.


The headquarters of CFA is located at the Centre for Evidence-Based Practice (CEBaP), a subsidiary of the Belgian Red Cross, in Mechelen, Belgium.

Cochrane First Aid (CFA) was initiated by Prof. Dr. Emmy De Buck, Prof. Dr. Philippe Vandekerckhove, Dr. Anne-Catherine Vanhove and Dr. Bert Avau.

Organisational structure of Cochrane First Aid

Prof. Dr. Emmy De Buck is the director of Cochrane First Aid. The field coordinators of Cochrane First Aid are Dr. Anne-Catherine Vanhove, Dr. Vere Borra and Dr. Jorien Laermans.


From left to right: Dr. Vere Borra, Dr. Jorien Laermans, Dr. Anne-Catherine Vanhove and Prof. Dr. Emmy De Buck

The coordinating team works under the guidance of an advisory board, which is composed of members of partner organizations, a consumer representative and members of several Cochrane Groups.

The advisory board will meet on a regular basis to provide advice to the director of CFA with respect to future goals of the field and prioritization of tasks.

The field’s director and coordinators share the responsibility to interact with CFA’s stakeholders, both within Cochrane, i.e. other Cochrane groups, and as well as external stakeholders.

CFA welcomes anyone with an interest in evidence-based first aid to contribute. Candidate contributors may take a look at our get involved page and contact our field coordinators via the contact page.

Active Members

Cochrane First Aid acknowledges the contributions of its active members:

- Wong Chun Hoong , Malaysia (KT product production and translation)

- Tuan Hairulnizam Tuan Kamauzaman, Malaysia (KT product translation)

- Trevor Abela Fiorentino, Malta (KT product translation)

- Aurélia Feyssaguet, France (KT product translation)

- Salomé Boucif, France (KT product translation)

Strategic plan

Cochrane First Aid (CFA) executes its objectives according to a strategic plan, which has been approved by the Cochrane Central Executive. In this plan, we describe the purpose of our Field, the objectives we plan and the goals we want to reach by taking these actions.

In brief, these are the goals CFA has set for the coming years:

  1. Network building: CFA wants to become a global network, involving the major players in the field of first aid. We aim for global representation, by actively soliciting for contributors in our partner organizations. Furthermore, we want to create a sense of involvement, by actively requesting our stakeholders for evidence needs, and communicate these needs to the relevant Cochrane Groups.

  2. Building demand/advocacy: CFA contributes to the inclusion of Cochrane evidence in guidelines of the major first aid organizations. To further increase accessibility to first aid-related Cochrane evidence, we build and maintain a register of Cochrane systematic reviews that are of relevance to the field of first aid. Furthermore, we actively promote and build capacity regarding the work of Cochrane with our stakeholders.

  3. A major goal of CFA is contributing to the knowledge translation activities of Cochrane in various ways:

    1. By contributing to evidence-based first aid guidelines, backed by Cochrane evidence where available

    2. By disseminating and repackaging Cochrane evidence in easy-to-use formats

    3. By actively promoting Cochrane with our stakeholders

  4. We want to engage our stakeholders through surveys on their evidence needs on the one hand and on how we can increase our relevance to the field on the other hand.

  5. Finally, CFA is involved in review production in several ways:

    1. We plan on contributing to prioritization exercises.

    2. We can assist Cochrane Review Groups with capacity issues with editorial work, where capacity allows.

    3. We conduct priority reviews in case no author teams are available.

Our full strategic plan can be consulted here.

Partner organizations

Cochrane First Aid initiator: Centre for Evidence-Based Practice (CEBaP), Belgian Red Cross

Cochrane First Aid collaborating centre: Global First Aid Reference Centre (GFARC) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Global First Aid Reference Centre