It’s the third and last training day, when we enter Mohamads First Aid Training at the Haroun Al Rasheed Middle School in Khan Younis. The 38 year old is a paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) since 20 years and is one of the people conducting first aid trainings for volunteers and communities throughout the Gaza Strip. 25 students are listening closely, while their trainer explains how to carry out immediate life-saving measures in the case of suffocation.
„It is incredibly important to teach as many people as possible how to behave correctly in an emergency situation. Especially here – the health facilities are overstrained and work on minimum capacity. We have to be able to help ourselves in an emergency. When we are the first responders and reach an accident site or something happens around us, we are prepared.“
The Gaza Strip is characterized by a tense political and socio-economic situation. Within the health sector alone almost 1.3 million people now depend on humanitarian aid, which is a significant number given a population of 1.8 million. By training the communities in responding to emergencies they can support each other in difficult situations. Due to recurring armed conflict and violent clashes in the Gaza Strip local response capacities are of particular importance.
Mohamad’s training is contributing towards this. One of his students explains to us, how they have already put into practice what they have learned during the past three days: In the afternoon of the second training day, a classmate from another class collapsed. Some of Mohamad’s students happened to be around and responded directly by taking care of him.
„I’m very proud“
„It’s great to see that in a real emergency situation we can apply what we’ve learned in the last few days“, Ahmed says. „We called an ambulance, checked the vital conditions of the classmate and tried to stabilize him“. Fadi adds, that in this situation, it was particularly important to preserve the dignity of the sick person. „Some of us made sure that there are not too many people gathering around him; you need to respect the privacy of people in a vulnerable situation like being seriously sick or injured.“
After this event Mohamad met with his students and evaluated the entire process. With a smile in his face he adds: „I’m very proud. They acted correctly and followed exactly the procedure I taught them.“
The work of the German Red Cross
The German Red Cross, supported by CANON and the British Red Cross, is realising a project that aims at further expanding the PRCS network of volunteers qualified in promoting preventive health care and in training First Aid in their respective communities. In addition, it aims at increasing the access of targeted communities to basic health care services. In the event of an emergency, with the support of PRCS, this will ensure that affected families and volunteers are able to react quickly and effectively to protect, immediately care for and if needed access treatment even for the most vulnerable members of their community.