The Kenya Red Cross Society hosted its Annual National First Aid Competitio as part of events to mark World First Aid Day 2019. The competition featured groups from the corporate and public sector demonstrated their ability to cope and assist during emergencies.

Basic first aid can mean the difference between life and death. A 2010 survey by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies showed that a staggering 59% of deaths from injuries could have been prevented had First Aid been given before the emergency services arrived.

Speaking at the event, Chief Guest Hon. Timothy Wanyonyi Wetangula, Member of Parliament for Westlands and Chair of the Kenya Paraplegic Association emphasized the critical role that First Aid plays in saving lives and called for more Kenyans to enroll for first AIDS Training.

“Every village, every workplace, school and college needs someone who can administer First AID. This is the only way we can save lives and prevent small injuries from causing permanent disability.” The MP said.

Sharing his experience on how First Aid saved his life Hon. Wanyonyi, stressed the need to improve emergency care in the country. He called on full implementation of the Emergency Care Policy developed in 2018 by the Ministry of Health which provided a platform that ensures that there is improved access, delivery and funding of emergency medical care.

In line with this year’s World First Aid theme First Aid and Excluded people, this year’s competition will see a team from the Kenya Society for the Blind show how visually impaired people can offer First Aid services. Other notable entries include teams from corporate giants Safaricom Limited, Total Kenya, Gulf African Bank, East African Breweries Limited, Egerton University the University of Nairobi and other public and private institutions.

Speaking at the same event Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Dr Abbas Gullet said that although the Society trains over 10,000 First Aid providers annually, this number was still too low. He said that in many countries First Aid training was compulsory in schools and colleges and urged Kenya to consider such a policy.

The World First Aid Day is a global observance held on the second Saturday in September. It was instituted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in 2000 and has been celebrated each year ever since. World First Aid Day aims at raising awareness of how first aid can prevent injuries and save lives in everyday and crisis situations, as well as at promoting the accessibility of the first aid. Events and activities held on this day focus on first aid training. Every year, a new global theme for the day is chosen, and participants are encouraged to plan events according to the current year’s theme.