Ideally, doctors and nurses belong on the scene in any medical emergency. However, in underserved areas of the world, the burden of care more often falls on community health workers (CHWs) who, if trained properly, can save lives and prevent further injury.
WiRED International is completing a series of First Aid Modules designed to train CHWs on administering urgent and immediate lifesaving measures that can be performed on injured people by nonmedical professionals when medical personnel are not immediately available.
The first in the WiRED series is a module on selected first aid topics, which offers a valuable guide to first aid for a range of simple emergencies. WiRED chose common conditions which we have observed through our field experience in low-resource regions and which have been suggested to us by people in these communities.
The six common first aid situations we highlight are:
- Allergic reactions
- Bites and stings
- Cuts and scrapes
- Sprains, strains and bruises
The module features each topic’s signs, symptoms, medication and pain treatments, and how to keep injured areas clean and bandaged. In addition to this “sampler” module, WiRED will provide many additional first aid modules, each addressing in greater detail a specific condition.
Knowing WHAT to do, what NOT to do and WHEN to refer a patient for medical assistance enables CHWs to support an injured person and provide time for additional help to arrive, if necessary.
Just as important, CHWs’ basic understanding of good first aid practices allows them to teach proper first aid basics to people in the communities they serve. Teaching first aid is an excellent way to encourage community members to participate in their own health.