EVERY child should at least have some basic first aid training or background so as to reduce unnecessary loss of life or serious injuries from salvageable situations, a top Red Cross Society official has said.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking during the 2021 World First Aid Day (WFAD) commemorations that were held at Red Cross High School in Harare, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) Secretary General, Mr Elias Hwenga said the Red Cross was committed to scaling up its first aid programmes to ensure every community across the country is able to prepare with a high-quality approach to face disasters but also daily risks.
While the marketplace has changed, our belief that performing first aid is an act of humanity – not just a series of techniques – has not. In line with this year’s commemorations, as ZRCS we strongly believe that the inclusion of first aid in the curriculum should promote contextually relevant educational programmes according to children’s intellectual, social and behavioural abilities,” said Mr Hwenga.
He added that programmes should include a broad range of helping behaviours for example providing comfort, managing emotions, accessing help and keeping safe. He said the programs should also help children develop knowledge and skills in a broad range of topics including bleeding, burns, choking, diarrhoea, seizures, fever, injuries to bones, muscles or joints, poisoning, resuscitation, skin wounds and stings and bites.
The 2021 WFAD commemorations were held under the theme, #Be a hero at school and in your community and revolved around preventive and life-saving skills for a safe school day, placing the children at the core of first aid awareness day.
According to data, every year, millions of people die or experience complications from injuries due to a lack of timely assistance or inadequate first aid thus maki- ng first aid, including resuscitation a vital action to effectively and swiftly address injury and illness improving a person’s chance of survival.
“The World First Aid Day concept this year is around a typical school day for a child (either remote or face-to-face, allowing them to grasp the concept of first aid and prevention, and to notice the hazards that may put them at risk (road safety, danger tracking at home, etc.) Therefore, the aim is for children to be able to avoid danger in their daily lives, and to know how to respond in a moment of emergency.
“Some training and prevention themes will also revolve around necessary life-saving actions in these unprecedented times of COVID-19 (the obligation to wear a mask at school, to wash their hands regularly, adaptation of first aid procedures, etc.”
Meanwhile, Mr Tapiwa Chadoka, the ZRCS Operations Manager said, “The Red Cross Society the world over has many societies. Almost every country across the globe has a national Red Cross Society which has many people ranging from children and adults who provide assistance in the event of emergency.
“First Aid being an important disaster response skill, here in Zimbabwe, it is also very primary for every one to know and acquire those skills. In the national Civil Protection Act, there is a policy statement which is very binding which says that every citizen young or old has a responsibility to prevent and limit the adverse impact of an emergency or a disaster.”
He added that there is need for training to be rendered to every citizen so as to capacitate everyone with the requisite knowledge and skills for providing assistance during emergencies.
Professor Murata, a student and Herd Boy at Red Cross High school in Harare said, “an emergency is something that is not planned and happens unexpectedly. I was one of the survivors of the Cyclone Idai in 2019. Due to the knowledge that was imparted in me by the Red Cross before the Cyclone happened, I was able to render assistance in conducting searches and rescues and also to help the clinic staff which was incapacitated at the moment. Using that first aid knowledge, I was able to save lives and I am really impressed by that and I feel honored to be one of those people who helped people who were in need.”
The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies recognizes children as important first aid providers and they also represent a large portion of the population that receives first aid support in emergencies.
In Zimbabwe, the Red Cross is a first aid training service provider of choice, providing appropriate, evidence-based first aid and health care training services to all sectors, offering training courses in health and care include Basic First Aid, Basic Industrial First Aid, Basic Mining First Aid, Disaster Risk Management and First Aid in Schools Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, Advanced First Aid, Basic First Aid, First Aid for First Responders, Community based Health Care, Nurse Aide, Junior First Aid and Psychological First Aid. Our courses are tailor made for industry, mining and the community at large. Red Cross certificates are internationally recognized.