First-Aid training given to students in high schools, can actually help save lives, says Program Coordinator for St John Ambulance, following an awarding of First-Aid In School (FAIS) certificates to 43 Kopkop College year nine students last Friday.
The school program held in partnership with Sir Brian Bell Foundation and St. John Ambulance PNG, started in 2018, and has seeing over 600 students in NCD including Kopkop College undergo a one-day basic life-saving training skills last term.
“Since we ran the program in 2018, we actually heard about kids applying those skills in a real-life situation which is really good and that’s what we want to hear because the little things they do, it helps to buy time before an ambulance comes, and yes a lot of good feedback has come to us,” says FAIS Program Coordinator for St. John’s, Zoe Saulep.
Ms. Saulep has thanked the foundation for their support, saying a lot of people in the communities do not understand the role of St. John Ambulance, and it was important for them to also introduce their various programs at the school level.
“We teach what first aid is, the aims of first aid and the importance of being self-aware which is very important for young people. There’s a lot of bullying going on and covering the topic on self-awareness was very important for the kids.
“We also talk about prevention topics like helping someone who has diarrhea and vomiting, assisting child-birth as well because we have a high maternal mortality rate, we also cover wounds and bleeding, burns and what do you do when someone is unconscious and not breathing or is having a fit.
“And once they get their hands on knowing about first aid it gives them the confidence because first aid is not just about knowing the skills, it’s about having the confidence to apply those skills in an emergency scenario.”
St John is looking at setting up regionally in places like Lae, which started operations a month ago, including East New Britain and Kundiawa.
Ruth Pini a student prefect said they are privileged to have learnt these skills and because a lot of Papua New Guineans come from rural areas, the basic skills could go a long way to help families and communities so that they can treat as well as teach others.
“We used mannequins to practice and we did CPR and we learnt what to do when someone is in pain or is hurt, or are unconscious including helping pregnant mothers and other situations like drowning, burning and snake bites,” she said.
Along with their certificates, the Grade 9 students of Kopkop College also received merchandise bags to take home.
Kopkop College, Director Support Services, Mary Udu has encouraged grade nines to utilise their skills whether at home or amongst their friends, as she thanked St. John Ambulance for its support in teaching important lifesaving skills to students.