Measuring the impact of training communities in basic prehospital skills can be rather more as challenging as finding a pregnant guinea fowl! While at the 2nd Quarter evaluation meeting (11th July 2013) of the Community Based Health Care & First Aid project jointly planned and implemented by Uganda Red Cross Society and Belgium Red Cross Flanders, the evaluation team that consisted of Branch Managers of Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kabale and Kasese, and 2 Programme Managers for CBHFA set out to find out the real impact of the project and unearthed one unsung hero! An AB-certified driver and now proud volunteer of the Uganda Red Cross Kasese branch…Brian Kanaahe Mwebaze Bilal Programme Manager Community Based Health Care & First Aid
Uganda Red Cross Society Interviewed him.
Brian: Good to finally meet you sir! Tell us briefly, who are you?
Bwambale: Iam Bwambale Johnson..a driver and Iam 29 years old. I come from Kasese town and I chair a small group of drivers in our municipality.
Brian: Exactly, how did you come to know of the Basic First Aid training Course in Kasese Branch?
Bwambale: I got it by word of mouth through one of the Uganda Red Cross Trainers by names of Thembo Joachim. You see, the Red Cross was going to freely train us in managing injuries arising from road traffic accidents. I can tell you, for the last 6 years I have been driving; I have witnessed a lot of injuries and horrible scenes that I can’t tell you now. I really wanted to learn these new skills which would help me save a life.
Brian: Impressive! So, what did you do at the accident scene and to the casualty on that fateful day?
Bwambale: It was around 2:00pm while we were busy shouting and loading passengers for at Mbarara stage in Kasese, when suddenly a boda boda which was carrying a passenger hit a bicycle driver and swaggered off the road before plunging into a trench. We all rushed to the scene, but many people were only looking at the woman passenger who got a twisted ankle and was really crying with pain. Its then, that I remembered my first aid skills, upon which I used her Katenge to make a quick narrow bandage, as I told the bystanders to control traffic for our safety. I bandaged her using those sticks (as splints) that I got from the nearby trees because we were told during the training that, in cases like these, you must immobilize the bones! We lifted the woman to a boda boda and took her to St. Paul’s hospital.
Brian: How did you feel that very time when you were responding?
Bwambale: (Laughs)…I knew exactly what I was doing. I wasn’t scared of the injury because we had seen a lot during the training, especially simulated wounds and blood! Everybody stood a distance and just admired me..they even were saying that I’d become a doctor following my brief skill training with the Red Cross.
Brian: What challenges did you experience?
Bwambale: In the beginning, you see I don’t have an Identity card or even a Red Cross shirt; people were thinking I was the husband to the injured woman. Some of my colleagues were saying that I was just a driver and that they should call a doctor. Clearly, we need identification fast. When I explained to them what I was going to do, they gave me space thereafter. Being resourceful also helped me from being disappointed.
Brian:What words do you have for fellow drivers, young people like yourself may be?
Bwambale: I can only say, that, they should make it a point get basic first aid skills at least. I don’t know why, such things are not emphasized when we are still in early school. I have already told all the drivers here in my group to get trained as fast as possible, because, accidents are always part of our daily job, so, having at least basic skills to help a casualty can define his/her death or disability. I hope the Red Cross will continue to call us for more trainings.
Brian: I personally wish you a fruitful experience on your way to being a top responder. The URCS are mandated to organize and conduct many first aid trainings and I hope you will be a top contact for the branch to the drivers in your catchment area. Please stay safe.
Bwambale: Thank you sir