World First Aid Day: First Aid is for Everyone, Everywhere

September 12, 2015, was World First Aid Day, an annual campaign to promote the importance of first aid training in preventing injuries and saving lives.  This year, Vanuatu Red Cross Society are working to promote the importance of first aid training in Vanuatu, especially during disasters, with a focus on one of Vanuatu’s most vulnerable groups, the elderly. In a campaign sponsored by Australian Red Cross and in line with this year’s theme, “First aid and ageing population”, Vanuatu Red Cross Society presented three basic first aid courses to 30 community members, predominantly aged over 50, in Mele, Wasisi and Melemaat this week. The aim of the trainings was to give attendees the confidence and ability to help themselves and others in times of need. Following the training, one attendee commented “I won’t be afraid anymore to attend to victims and I can educate my family and friends on how to not panic and have the courage to help”. Another pointed out that “Knowing how to help someone in an emergency is very important. Everyone needs to know basic first aid”. All those trained were provided with a customized first aid kit to help them & their households to be more prepared in case of emergencies, big or small.  

Older people are an important resource for society, yet around the world, they face certain medical emergencies more frequently than others – cardiac arrest, strokes, difficulty in breathing and falls. By 2050, 1 in 5 people worldwide will be over 60 years old. For countries such as Vanuatu, which have a significant – and growing – elderly population and a low rate of trained first responders, this is a major problem. As our elderly population continues to grow, the need for first aid training and awareness about their needs is becoming clear. Providing basic first aid training to older persons not only improves their mental and emotional well-being but also the health of others. Being able to spot early warning signs and take preventable action can potentially be the difference between life and death in these situations. By encouraging first aid training amongst older people we can help to strengthen their resilience and capacity to be autonomous, while also promoting their inclusion in society. This is particularly important during times of disaster.

It’s now been 6 months since Cyclone Pam made landfall in Vanuatu and it’s important that the people of Vanuatu, regardless of age, are prepared in case another disaster occurs. One of the easiest ways to save a life in emergencies and disasters is to get trained in first aid. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been has been the world’s leading first aid trainer for over 100 years. Vanuatu Red Cross Society is currently taking first aid program bookings and also has a variety of first aid kits available for purchase. To enquire, call them today on +678 27418 or email