When a little help goes a long way
by Md. Masud Parvez, Field Facilitator, Friendship
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I work with Friendship in the field of Disaster Management and Infrastructure Development. As part of my routine home inspections, I once visited a home in South Jhapa where I was greeted by a cheerful 75-year-old man, Girendranath Mandal, with his arm in a sling.
“It is fine now.” He smiled and answered. “I am old, things take a bit longer to heal now.” He then went on to tell he how he broke his arm on a stormy evening a few days back.
“It was in the month of August in 2016. The monsoon had already begun. The sky grew dark and there was heavy lightening, a storm was brewing. I was out at a nearby store and decided to return home as quickly as possible. In my haste, I slipped on the muddy road and fell badly, breaking my right arm, and twisting my left. I cried out as I hit the ground. The pain was just unbearable.
“The neighbors came running out to help me, but they had little idea how to treat broken bones. We were several hours away from the nearest Health Centre. With the storm raging, it was impossible for a boat to take me there.
“It’s a blessing that my son, Debashish, had received training on first aid and primary treatment from Friendship. As soon as he heard that I had fallen, he rushed to retrieve the first aid box from the South Jhapa Friendship Disaster Management Committee.
“He improvised a splint with ropes and two sticks to secure my hand. He then placed my arm inside a sling and sent me to the nearest Health Center by boat once the rain had subsided a bit and I was stable. Thanks to my son’s immediate intervention, and the availability of the community’s first aid box, the damage to my arms was significantly reduced.
“I was admitted to the emergency department. The doctor on duty was very surprised to see my arm in a sling and secured by a splint. He wanted to know who had applied the primary treatment. I told him my son had. The doctor thought that Debashish was the village doctor. I clarified that he was not, but that he had received training on first aid and rescue from Friendship. Upon seeing the X-rays report, the doctor said ‘your son has made my work easier. Had he not intervened immediately, your case would have been more difficult to treat.’ ”
“It took me more than two months to recover at my ripe age,” Girendranath told me later. “But my suffering was comparably lessened thanks to my son and the first aid training he received from Friendship. My gratitude is always with Friendship.”
Friendship has provided first aid, search and rescue training to 53 communities. They have also provided 53 first aid kit sets and search and rescue tool boxes to local Friendship Disaster Management Committees, which can be used by the community as per their need.
Learn more about Friendship (www.friendship.ngo)