Novelist Franz Kafka once commented through his work that it is “better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have”. When it comes to preparing for unknown emergencies, Kafka’s words are the guiding principle. How seriously one takes this principle could be the deciding factor between life and death.
The recent KwaZulu Natal floods were a reminder of how unprepared residents are for emergencies, which might require residents to administer first aid as they wait for assistance for emergency care. To help empower Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) staff, students and the Umlazi Township community to prepare for emergencies, the Department of Marketing and Communications at MUT partnered with Gift of the Givers to deliver First Aid training.
The two-day training that ran from 24 to 25 August 2022 at the University was more than a revelation for those that attended. Daniel Beder, the Events Supervisor for Medi Response, which conducted the training, said the Level 1 First Aid training was going “to educate and give people the necessary skills, most importantly to empower the most vulnerable in society with the basic health care education, that can save lives, especially in areas where access to medical facilities and ambulance services are minimal”.
Beder said that the accredited First Aid course also assists communities in ruling out many myths on basic treatment for medical emergencies and helps with the stabilisation of medical and trauma emergencies while waiting for the necessary medical assistance to come.
“Those that did the First Aid course now have better employment opportunities; this course can be added as an additional skill in their CV,” said Beder.
Training attendees include youth, community leaders, religious leaders, community health care workers, as well as teachers.
Among others, the training empowered trainees with skills in the following areas: how to deal with shock, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (commonly known as CPR), how to help someone that is drowning, how to help someone that is chocking, someone with a fracture, and the importance of assuring a person that is being assisted that they will be fine, as long as they comply. The trainees were also taught the importance of seeking consent from the person that needs help and also to check the surroundings to ensure that they were safe in that particular spot.
Ahmed Bham of the Gift of the Givers said the relief agency had embarked on an empowerment programme to train over 5000 community health care workers, teachers, educational institutions, religious leaders, vulnerable communities, rural sport development programmes, and special needs teachers and guardians.