Despite its importance for saving lives, first aid skill has become virtually dead across schools in Nigeria. In responding to this skill gap the development Research Centre (dRPC), an independent nonprofit organization, is working to revive First Aid skills in select girls’ government secondary schools in Kano and Jigawa States.
The initiative is part of dRPC’s Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) programme also known as Skills4girls4life. The Skills4Girls4Life program is a capacity building program whose major goal is to create empowerment opportunities for schoolgirls in the northwestern states of Kano and Jigawa, to make them self-reliant. By learning first aid skills, the dRPC aims to create self-employment opportunities for girls to join female health workers schemes supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and by DFID’s Women for Health (W4H) project.
Therefore, the one-day first aid training which held on Wednesday 11th July 2018 at the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, the largest and oldest Specialist facility in West Africa, in Kano was attended by 43 participants including – Principals, Health Mistresses and Health Prefects of 8 selected girls and 1 boys government secondary schools from across Kano and Jigawa states. Officials from the Ministries of Education of the respective states were also in attendance.
The participants were trained on how to respond to the basic health problems of students in secondary schools through First Aid. Facilitators in the training introduced participants to the theory and practice areas such as dressing wounds; supporting children with sickle cell; good hygiene practices for adolescent girls; dress cuts, immobilizing fractures as well as stopping nose bleeds and flushing foreign objects from the eyes.
A highpoint of the training was a special session dedicated to reducing the Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) risk of older participants – the senior government health of Ministry of Education Officials from the Library Board, the Principals, Head Teachers, School Counselors – a total of about 23 participants.
A handout entitled – Everything you need to know about Diabetes Type Two – was used by the presenter as the guiding document for the theory and practical session on Diabetes Type Two. Participants were taken through sessions on theory behind blood sugar control as well as practical sessions on how to use Glucometer machine to test glucose levels. The handout was produced by Miss. Zuwaira P. Hashim, as an extract from her undergraduate thesis on Diabetes in Nigeria.
An important segment of the training workshop was when school Principals and Health Prefects who participated in pervious First Aid programs of the dRPC in 2017 under the PSIPSE project spoke about how the training and the donation of First Aid boxes helped their schools.
Haliya Amina Isa Umar, the Principal of Government Girls Unity Secondary School (GGUSS) Gwaram in Jigawa State who was one of the participants at the 2017 First Aid training reported that she learnt basics of first aid service delivery during the training. She said:
“We have been introduced to First Aid including the essential contents of a First Aid box and the functions of the individual items in the box. I have also learnt how to measure blood pressure to determine sugar levels. Based on the skills I have acquired, we may not have to always take our students to the hospital – we can manage some of the ailments ourselves.”
Mallam Abdu Madana of the Jigawa State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, pledged to organize a step-down training for his colleagues at the ministry. Musa Idris, an education official who represented the Kano State Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation at the training said:
“As a result of participating in dRPC’s previous training on first aid, some of our schools now have functional and sustainable first aid services; they are now able to secure donations to replenish the contents of their first aid boxes. We are now planning similar trainings for our secondary schools, in partnership with the Kano State Hospitals Management Board,”
At the end of the training the dRPC distributed fully stocked First Aid kits as well as copies of the handout on managing Diabetes Type two to each of the participating schools. The dRPC also donated 3 Glucometers with testing strips and copies of the Handout to the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital for public use and health promotion at the hospital. The training was coordinated by the dRPC focal officer, Miss. Zubaida Onono Abdulsalami.
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