The Jamaica Red Cross Society last Saturday stepped up its mission to "improve the lives of the vulnerable" with a motorcade, simulation exercise and first-aid demonstration in celebration of World First Aid Day (WFAD).
The theme, 'First Aid with Vulnerable People', focused on sensitising and disseminating first-aid information and training to persons who, by virtue of their limited economical, social and educational means, are considered vulnerable in society and deemed unable to access the service.
"Vulnerable people are people with disabilities - intellectual as well as physical disability," Lois Hue, deputy director general of the Jamaica Red Cross, told The Gleaner.
First aid is the first form of assistance a casualty receives before being attended to by a doctor or other authorised medical professional.
One of the staples of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the organisation's personnel have become known worldwide for their prompt on-the-spot rendering of the much-needed service in times of distress and war.
The movement, in fact, began in similar fashion in 1859 after its founder, Swiss national Jean-Henry Dunant, had witnessed the wounded and suffering in the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino.
In the same way, Hue said the Red Cross had realised that many of our people are vulnerable. These, she identified as "people who are at risk for various eventualities, because of poverty, health, the social, an inability to comprehend, or if you're not literate".
Of the organisation's approach to its celebrations this year, she said: "We are looking at ensuring that they know what to do in the case of a sudden accident or illness or if the people around them suffer the same fate."
HELPING THE VULNERABLE
Citing the case of the domestic helper, she said "vulnerable people most times don't have the wherewithal to take a first-aid course and, therefore, issues such as getting time-off from work and a lack of disposable income create serious challenges for these persons", thereby underscoring the need for Red Cross intervention in bringing the information to the group.
With Devon House being its assembly point, the motorcade made its way along the Hope Road corridor before culminating in front of Half-Way Tree Transport Centre adjacent to Jamaica National Building Society, for a simulation exercise and first aid demonstration.
WFAD is celebrated each year on September 8 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
- Robyn Miller