First Aid Training Saves Child’s Life

The medic training program emphasizes practicing new skills.
The medic training program emphasizes practicing new skills.
Medic Training Boosts Access to Quality Care and Saves Lives
One day, all the newly trained medics in Kyrgyzstan will have a story like Damira’s – a story of a life saved and a grateful mother’s thanks.

One-year-old Aidana had been sick for some time. Aileta, her mother, thought it was simply a cold. Then early one morning, the child developed a high temperature. Aidana’s breathing appeared to stop and she lost consciousness and became pale. Panicking, Aileta called an ambulance. The closest children’s hospital was 15 minutes away.

When the ambulance arrived, a medic who recently completed a USAID-funded training course in basic emergency care, attended to the child with her mother at her side. The medic, Damira, knew she had to do something to save Aidana — and quickly. Holding the child on her lap, she swiftly assessed the girl’s condition and saw that she had stopped breathing and had no pulse. Recalling what she had learned in the course, she started to administer CPR. After a few cycles, the child started to breathe by herself. Her pulse was still weak, but palpable, and her body was cold and shivering. Damira wrapped the child in her jacket, and Aidana’s condition improved; she regained consciousness, began to cry, and her skin regained a rosy color.

When asked later what she would have done in a similar situation before her training course, Damira replied, “Nothing, because I simply would not have known what to do.”

Damira’s training was made possible by a partnership between USAID and the World Bank. The program brought in doctors and nurses to design and implement a training program and provide technical expertise. Twenty-two medics working in ambulances and medical posts were selected from around the country. They received four weeks of emergency medical care education, followed by an additional five months of specialized primary care training. The medics then went on to train others, becoming the first medics in Central Asia granted permission to teach. With USAID support, these medic-trainers taught 313 ambulance medics and 300 medical point medics in emergency care and management of childhood illnesses.

During her follow-up visit a few weeks later, Aidana was doing very well. Her mother struggled to adequately express her gratitude to the medic. Damira simply said she was happy to have saved Aidana’s life.