India Yankee 1 – Teaching First Aid

26th August 2013

During the first phase of our project, it became clear that there was a big need for first aid training in Hadya village. Inspired by some badly treated playground injuries, we have thrown all of our energy into a training program. Following the success of week five initial teaching, we have run a further seven classes to school children, learners groups, self-help group members and beneficiaries. We were also requested, by an extremely keen villager named Shrinivas, to take the training to his community and  so (in a room the size of a small bathroom) we managed to fit 30 eager women. In this village women have more of a backseat role in community activities and are usually confined to their own home to carry out washing and cooking duties. It was so incredible to be able to gather, let alone teach, such an enthusiastic bunch and also for some of them it was the first opportunity they had had to leave their home in weeks. This time we taught choking, asthma attacks and heart attacks; which required a little bit of creative thinking due to the lack of first aid supplies. This resulted in Megan having to demonstrate CPR on a sleeping bag, which caused further hilarity amongst the group.

The response to the training has been amazing, or as our Indian guys like to say ‘mindblowing’. The main aim of our health awareness training is that when we leave in one week’s time, the villagers are able to treat their own injuries and recognise when they need to get a doctor.  There have been more than one occasion where we have seen for ourselves the benefit of our hard work. For example, one unfortunate villager collapsed in the street and immediately a few men checked for breathing and then carefully rolled him into the recovery position. A small victory but a proud moment for us all!

However constantly teaching the villagers about first aid and health awareness has some negatives. They are now all under the impression that we can fix any health problem. Every day waiting outside our room there is a gaggle of ‘patients’ calling for Doctor Megan and Doctor Lucy. One constant offender has a sore toe from climbing up the telegraph poles every time the electricity goes out (which is alot). Although it gets frustrating being demanded to look at the same toe ten times a week, it’s a nice feeling that the people in Hadya trust us enough to disclose their health problems.

Due to the success of our training we have created and (with the help of the boys) translated a first aid manual into Kanada which has been copied 50 times and will be distributed amongst keen villagers in the coming week. We also have two health camps planned in neighbouring villagers in which further health training will take place.

So far first aid training has been a massive success and we all hope that it will only continue in the remaining weeks!