We have had an insanely busy September here at MakeSafe. Since arriving in Tanzania we have worked on several projects, discussed some exciting potential projects within our organizations and spoken with several other NGOs about cooperative operations we may undertake in the future. But we will save discussion of future projects for the.. well... future. For now I want to focus on what the projects we've been working over the past three weeks.
On the first Saturday I spent in Tanzania, I had the privilege of assisting Tanzania Rural Health Movement volunteers with their wound care project for street children. We spent the day cleaning and dressing homeless children's wounds and treating the parasitic infections they contract from swimming in the waters of Lake Victoria. Living on the streets of Mwanza can be dangerous for these kids. They come to us with lacerations, puncture wounds, bad blisters, abrasions and other minor trauma injuries. While these injuries by themselves aren't life threatening, complications can occur if the wound becomes infected. Sanitization and sterile dressings go a long way in reducing the risk of infection and assuring the kids stay healthy. The following week we finally started step one of Operation Serengeti Lifeline, providing first responder training for the local boda boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers and Mwanza's firefighters. We started with an initial course covering the basics of managing massive hemorrhaging, airway obstructions, breathing issues, circulation deficiencies and shock. We base our training around the MARCH method, an acronym used in NAEMT's Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) curriculum. The acronym stands for Massive hemorrhage, Airway, Respirations, Circulation and Head/Hypothermia. It is similar to the ABC (airway, breathing and circulation) acronym taught in the EMT curriculum, but encourages prioritizing massive hemorrhages before moving on to airway management. After all, breathing doesn't do you much good if you have no blood to carry the oxygen! The students were all awesome, they picked up the material immediately and were running flawless MARCH assessments before the end of the third day of training. It was easy to tell that they all care deeply about their city and are passionate about saving lives. What better students can an instructor ask for? Now that we have trained the Mwanza Community First Responders and firefighters, we must proceed to purchase them some basic equipment such as airway adjuncts and bag valve masks for respiratory resuscitation. Once we have the equipment, we will continue on to more advanced training. The responders tell me they are anxious to get started on their next course, as am I! As I write this, we are heading to Ukerewe to discuss the possibility of expanding the Community First Responder network to the island. We have no plans of stopping there, or anywhere until every community has a first responder network. Challenge accepted. It looks like MakeSafe is going to have an insanely busy October, we can't wait. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Linkedin for updates as our adventures unfold and as always, thank you all for your support!