WORLD FIRST AID DAY
The Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Bekele Geleta has marked 2012 World First Aid Day by urging governments to allow individuals to be better trained in emergency first aid and to be better protected from any ensuing legal consequences.
Mr Geleta said that many people living in war-torn or disaster affected societies were often not being given the opportunity to be trained in basic first aid and urged governments to ensure first aid education becomes more widely available to all.
“First aid training is not always accessible to all and we urgently need to improve that“ he said. “First aid awareness is particularly lacking amongst many vulnerable communities. In many of the world’s poorest and most troubled countries, just a very basic idea of how to treat an injury or, in the worst case scenario, keep someone alive, would be extremely valuable.”
Mr Geleta also called upon governments and decision makers to ensure that would-be first aiders across the world would not be deterred from putting their life-saving skills into action by threats of legal action.
“The social and legal challenges that we face today in trying to equip communities with life saving first aid skills are different than when Henri Dunant came upon the historic battlefield in Solferino that gave birth to our Movement, “he said.
“We urge governments to create environments that empower individuals to act upon their skills. The adoption of legislation, which does not hold first aid providers responsible for poor outcomes, could be one such way of improving this.”
Stressing that encouraging people to assist others was is in the public interest, Geleta suggested more extensive first aid training in schools, workplaces and also through less traditional channels such as hostels and charitable associations.
Almost all 187 National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies engage in first aid training and application as a core activity. In 2010 more than 17 million people received first aid courses from their local Red Cross Red Crescent. An additional 46 million received first aid and preventive educational messages.