First Aid in Kibera August 5, 2010  by      

From CFK 2010 Fellow Cassie Ludwig:

In my first weeks as an intern at CFK, a woman who had a failed attempt at an abortion called the Carolina for Kibera (CFK) office asking if staff members would help transport her to a hospital. The ‘roads’ in Kibera are more like walkways and even if an ambulance could fit down them, it certainly couldn’t navigate them. With no  emergency transport system in place, my fellow intern and a CFK staff member carried the woman on a stretcher through the winding alleys of Kibera until they reached the CFK office where she waited while a taxi was called to transport to the hospital. I later found out at a CFK staff meeting that this was a common occurrence.  I immediately wanted to do something to help.

In discussing emergency transport at the staff meeting following this incident, I came up with the idea to work with the CFK youth to establish a CFK emergency transport team. From there the idea snowballed into a First Aid and Emergency Transport training program for both CFK staff members and CFK youth. After the training program, CFK would have a team of people available and trained to give First Aid and transport to community members in emergency situations.  We recruited a team of youth from all CFK programs to ensure this was a diverse and collaborative CFK First Aid Team.

Because I am Wilderness Advanced First Aid Certified, I felt confident in my knowledge and ability to teach First Aid, but I was not fluent in Kiswahili. More importantly, because we wanted to create a sustainable training program that CFK could continue to use, the staff at the Tabitha Clinic did all of the  instruction for the two-day training and used locally available materials like kangas to make slings and tourniquets.  In the end, I just helped organize the logistics and topics.

The training was a great success! Twenty-eight individuals from various villages in Kibera came together to form the first-ever group of CFK emergency responders. I was so gratified to know that this group would now know how to respond to any emergency, from choking to broken bones to properly transporting a casualty.  The team’s phone numbers and villages were then posted in all CFK offices and the clinic, so they could be called in case of any emergency. The training was extremely well received, and the hope is that successive re-trainings and new trainings will continue to educate CFK youth and staff members.

On the second day of the training, I had a long discussion with Moses, one of the Peer Youth Educators from the SRH program.  He recalled his own personal memories and horrifying experiences during the post-election violence and told me that the training meant a lot to him because during the violence there were so many people who needed help, but so few people who knew how to help one another. He said that he, himself, felt powerless in the situation and so he was grateful for the opportunity he was now given to help his community and learn about First Aid.

I know Moses will help his neighbors during an emergency.  To me, that’s what CFK means when it talks about ‘participatory development.’ Moses and 27 other community members now have the skills and training to respond to their community’s needs.

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