ISLAMABAD, SEPT 10 (DNA) – Today, 194 Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies, around the globe, including Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), are celebrating the World First Aid Day to promote and advocate for first aid knowledge and skills to the wider public.  

Every year, the second Saturday of September is observed as World First Aid Day to recognize and celebrate the important role that National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other organizations play in providing quality first aid trainings worldwide as a way of building people’s capacity to respond in situations of injury or illness. 

This year, the theme of WFAD is “First Aid in Schools”, placing the youth at the core of this first aid awareness day. Some training and prevention themes will also revolve around necessary life-saving actions in these unprecedented times of COVID-19, such as the obligation to wear a mask at school, to wash their hands regularly and adaptation of first aid procedures. 

In a statement on the occasion, PRCS Chairman Abrar ul Haq said, “COVID-19 has reshaped the whole world and changed the dynamics of safe behaviors and responsibilities, including in educational institutions. In these times, it is important for everyone to adapt to the changing scenarios, in which first aid trainings can play a crucial role. It enables a person to carry out first aid in life-threatening situations as the first few moments are crucial in preventing the situation from worsening.”

PRCS has made numerous systematic and structural interventions to promote first aid by arranging first aid training programs through an accessible and inclusive approach. During the COVID-19 pandemic, PRCS has successfully conducted various first aid training sessions across Pakistan. “We have witnessed an overwhelming response to the first aid training sessions. I can proudly say that from 2020 to 2021, the number of trained first aiders has increased from 18,767 to 27,787. Moreover, I feel proud to add that these first aiders have responded to over 4,600 emergency cases to date from the start of this year”, Abrar ul Haq added. 

The First Aid program particularly focuses on training people from marginalized communities, including the transgender community, religious minorities, and persons with disabilities. Moreover, students, lawyers, and journalists are also being equipped with first aid skills. 

Dragana Kojic, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Pakistan, reiterated that first aid saves lives. “The ICRC works with PRCS to deliver practical training to communities in first aid, ensuring they are equipped with life-saving knowledge and skills, and the confidence to act when needed. When a crisis or emergency occurs, the first to provide essential aid is our community of first aid responders. On this day, I would like to extend ICRC’s support to PRCS in further strengthening the first aid program and thank its network of staff and volunteers who are equipping vulnerable communities with essential first aid skills,” she added.