Why are females missing in First Aid Education & Services?

Before I jogged to subscribe to my DsTV so I could watch the historical moment that potentially marked the participation of Mr Museveni Yoweri in the 2nd Uganda Presidential Debate better known to him as school boy debate, I took afew seconds to reflect on our First Aid Trainer of Trainers Course held 7th-12th February 2016 at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala.

Section of participants. Photo credits: Uganda Red Cross

Organised by Uganda Red Cross in partnership with Belgium Red Cross Flanders and Global First Aid Reference Centre, the course was part of the International Red Cross Movement agenda to increase the number and quality of first aid trainer of trainers globally. I was part of the 12 Uganda First Aid geeks selected for this course. 🙂

Since I was certified as a First Aid trainer for the Red Cross movement in 2008, I have overtime eurekad the missing female button in our first aid and road safety work. You don’t need to be told to put on your glasses to recognise that for example in the photo above, there is no female participant. The only female present, An Vandehyden is the Belgium Red Cross Flanders Country Representative. You would (correctly) imagine that since children spend more time with their mothers than their fathers, mothers would be interested in learning about first aid and be able to help their children in emergencies. Considering that females have a ‘soft’ heart of caring, you would imagine that they would be flooding the training gates. Nope, not with us. Even when the Uganda Red Cross made it a key critical criteria to have a gender balanced first aid class, the cat chronically continued to eat the mice. As a result, there have been quite literally, no quality candidates to be trained as trainers of trainers.

So, what has been the shitty problem? 😦

Over my 8 years in this field, perhaps, I could mention the methodologies that we have been using to deliver first aid sessions. I don’t think we have been supporting female learners well enough. If you ask a young girl to do a piggy back method of transportation with an 82Kg heavy casualty, Iam not sure, this candidate will come back for the standard first aid course. Also, the cultural bullshit of leaving emergency work to males, has potentially affected the female participation in first aid. It seems as though, it’s a male’s job to always help. This is the 30th century, no I meant 21st! Perhaps, we need to add gender and it’s role in first aid, as one of the topics? We need to tackle this problem. Again, we haven’t had a consistent schedule of training so that females can prepare and make themselves available. For example, I’m not sure If I would allow my daughter to participate in a course whose date isnt clear until the last minute. “Not many people know that a monkey sweats too” (Proverb from Gulu, Uganda), and indeed, we can sweat plasma if we consistently continue to ignore this red light.


I see that no University in Uganda offers coordinated first aid courses. I think first aid training should be extended to all students at University at appropriate times. We could give the students a chance to interact with Uganda Red Cross First Aid Team, bring in a female first aid speaker to inspire females to take up this challange. Again, why am I talking about this…let me go and ACT on it at Bishop Stuart University.

Happy valentines day! ❤ oh, wait, what is that again? :O

Related post: https://publichealthourconcern.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/are-you-trained-in-first-aid-it-could-be-the-difference-between-life-and-death-in-uganda-message-from-uganda-red-cross-secretary-general-on-world-first-aid-day-2013-wfad2013/


2 thoughts on “Why are females missing in First Aid Education & Services?

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  1. While I agree with you Brian that there is a notable gap in involvement of females in higher level first aid education, I don’t rightly agree that some instruction methods, like lifting casualties would bar them (females) from signing up for those courses, unless you present scientific evidence of this hypothesis. I challenge you to look at other National Societies which comparatively have more female trainees enrolled than the URCS, and tell me whether their training methodology offers preferential treatment for female candidates via such procedures like casualty evacuation and lifting. In other words, are you insinuating that courses offered at military and police training academies ; where there seems to be more lifting and heavy tasks than one can imagine, actually offer preferential treatment for female recruits? We probably need more evidence, with concrete solutions as to how females can be motivated to have interest to learn first aid at a higher level, lest we end up dragging a horse at the well, even when it isn’t feeling thirsty. I bet; you will successfully train those lads at Bishop Stuart Univ. but it will be another story to see them available in respective branches of origin, including Mbarara when we call for candidates for further training. Good luck.

    1. Hehe…Very well said and I agree with you 100%. Ofcourse that was a hypothetical question. I dont have evidence on it. And yes, we need to have other ways of motivating female learners into this field…we know the how, but it seems we (as URCS/Implementers) are not ready to walk the action citing issues of funding, and time constraints.

      Thank you, I do need the luck 🙂 Stay safe

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