Nigerian Red Cross Society’s
(NRCS) Ghali Bashir Adam is a first responder who has been
teaching community members in Nigeria’s volatile north
central region first aid since 2005. Every year, the techniques
he teaches are updated in refresher courses but, he said,
the qualities of a first aider remain the same: He or she
must be skillful, confident, composed and patient.
important quality, he said, is skill. At a training early
this year, Adam was taught how to enhance his students’ skills
by simplifying. For example, Adam now teaches fist aiders
to quickly assess the level of danger using a colour-coding
system and save lives by keeping their patients and themselves
out of the line of fire. Resuscitation techniques have also
been simplified to include fewer differences between care
given to children and adults.
“It didn’t used
to be effective because they were confused as to what to
do,” he said of the old resuscitation techniques.
aid methods taught by the NRCS often focus on teaching students
how to help their patients the most, with a minimum amount
of resources. Burn wounds should be treated with 10 to 15
minutes of water poured on them before covering the wound,
and broken bones should be immobilized with an improvised
splint — most likely a stick.
Adam said training first
aiders inside Nigerian communities that have or may be victims
of sectarian violence, militant battles or bomb blasts is
a critical part of NRCS operations. When violence erupts,
he said, sometimes first responders like him cannot get to
“There are a lot of casualties and some
are dying and there’s no way to help them,” he
said. But, when community members are skilled first aiders, “loved
ones can save them at home.”