Anja Thorsen - Nurse in Ghana
On the 13th of March myself, Enoch, Marica and Alessia met at Kumasi Children Home to educate the employees in CPR and First Aid. There were between 20-25 employees to educate this day and we started off with talking about first aid and what to do in different cases.
I went through the different stages of CPR, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and how to do CPR. The last thing I did around this topic was to use Marica as a demonstration person to see how we should use our bodies in the situation. We also went through the different ways of CPR as to the different ages. This meaning that adult resuscitation is different from performing on children or even babies or infants. For adults, we use both hands when doing the compressions, for children we use one, for babies we use two fingers and for infants we hold the babies in the hands and use the thumbs to compress. 30 x 2 - means 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths.
It's important that people know how to perform CPR to feel safer within the community and to know what to do in a situation where CPR is needed. However, as it can be hard for people in Ghana to get health professionals to the scene it's even more important for people to have an idea of how to handle the situation as safely as they can. In Ghana they don't have any emergency number as they do in many other countries. After this, Enoch talked through some different scenarios such as snake bites, getting hurt by electricity in the home or at work, or even if someone is choking or swallowing something poisonous, and what to do in the different cases.
We also demonstrated how to do the Heimlich maneuver as an emergency reaction for someone that is choking. At last Enoch went through some different ideas of how to take care of general hygiene for the hair, body and teeth.
On the 16th of March we again went for a very meaningful day of education. Myself, Enoch and Marica went to the Ghana Education Service, Christ the King of Kings Int. School, Bohyen Creche, K.G. Nursery, Primary & J.H.S. We were there to educate 10 to 14 year old students about HIV/AIDS, Human Immunodeficiency Infection and Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. There where over a 100 students listening and taking part in the lecture.
We went through the different topics of what HIV and AIDS actually are, how to prevent them, what the treatment is, and what the symptoms of HIV are. The students were at this time encouraged to take part and list as many symptoms as they could. They showed a wide range of knowledge at this area and were eager to show what they knew.
We also concentrated on talking around the importance of being safe during sex and how to use a condom. This was then demonstrated to them so that they could see what a condom looks like and know how to put it on. Furthermore the importance of always to make sure the condom package is intact for safe use. Besides this we went through the A, B, C rule where A stands for Abstinence, B is for Being faithful and C is for Condom. As well as the importance of both people indulging in a sexual relationship having been tested for HIV before such relations are performed. The only way of getting to know for sure you if you have been infected by HIV is to have a blood test and this can be done at any hospital for free, so we tried to encourage all the students to take this test. However, being tested once may not mean you will always be free of HIV if the first test is negative. The test should be done several times during life to be sure you haven't been infected later on. In addition, we spent some time talking about the importance of never sharing razor blades or needles in any way, as these can be infected and then transmit the infection. We also advised the students to not share razor blades with any other family members; everyone should have their own razor blade and always make sure they use a new one if they haven't brought their own to the barbers. This is very important to talk about since the shaving of the head is very common in Ghana. In the end we finished the class with all students saying together "Protect yourself from HIV, it's your responsibility!".
As a volunteer to take part in these education lessons you feel very useful and like you are doing something very important for the community. Both CPR and HIV education is so important and cannot be repeated often enough. We all need to be reminded of these things and how we can help others and our self by knowing more about the topics. As more people know, the more knowledge spread the better it is for the community. If some of these people learned something during the lessons, then maybe we have prevented someone from getting HIV and maybe someones life will be saved by performing CPR. This thought for me, makes the whole difference.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Programme Advisors.