What would your reaction be to knowing that medical help of any kind was hours away in an emergency? That is the situation that thousands in Nicaragua face on a daily basis and it is actually worse during their rainy season.
First responder skills closer to home in Nicaragua.
Two students practicing their new skills.
Julio was riding his motorcycle one day and lost control on a rain-rutted dirt road. He flipped off and suffered a broken arm and many bruises and cuts.
When found no one knew first aid or had any medical knowledge, all they could do was load him – just as they found him – into the back of a pickup truck and travel three hours to the closest hospital. There, he received care to set his broken arm and clean his cuts. The doctor gave him a prescription for painkillers but he had no money, so he went back to his community without them.
Luis was cutting wood for his stove with a machete. The machete slipped and he badly cut his leg.
There was no medical help close to his community and it was the rainy season so they were unable to get to the hospital. His wife wrapped the wound with rags and used home remedies to prevent infection. As a result he has a bad scar and some nerve damage.
Petronia was ready to have her baby. She went into labour and had to get to the hospital quickly since this was her sixth baby. She contacted a neighbour who had a pickup truck and they headed to the hospital two hours away.
She barely made it in time. No one with her knew how to deliver a baby.
These are reasons why a group of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers from across Ontario spent five days conducting a First Responders Program – Level 1 at the Skylark Centre in San Marcos, Nicaragua.
EMS Supervisors and Paramedics from Parry Sound District including Loretta Smith and Arlette Wood, Ottawa, Peterborough, Renfrew County, Thunder Bay and Durham Region, gave of their professional skills to instruct in the program. This program conducted between April 7 and 14, was one of several provided through 3 Fold Ministries, which is based in Parry Sound.
Forty-eight individuals graduated from this program and became knowledgeable in first aid and emergency childbirth. They were provided with supplies and equipment to be able to return to their communities and be that local provider. A second Level 1 program is in the planning for October of this year.
The graduates of the recent program will be invited back to take Level 2 in April of 2013.
All the students were grateful for the opportunity to take this new knowledge and skills back to their communities and put it to use. A representative of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health attended the graduation ceremony and spoke of the need to improve First Response Services in Nicaragua and was excited to see the enthusiasm of the graduates.
Peggy Hawthorn, a retired medical administrator from Parry Sound was the team leader for the First Responders training in Nicaragua.