- After the First Aid and Safety training, the Kenya Red Cross Society and the MCK fully engaged the journalists in distributing relief food to the needy.
- The training sensitized the journalists on their safety, considering that many a time, journalists’ lives when covering stories during emergencies are always at risk.
- Journalists are always the first people to reach the most dangerous scenes for coverage.
The media has been called upon to always ensure they give first priority to humanity while in their line of duty, especially during disasters.
The call was made by the Kenya Red Cross Society Regional Manager Helen Cheruto while delivering an opening speech during a First Aid and Safety training workshop for over 20 journalists drawn from Busia County held in Busia town recently under the auspices of the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and the Kenya Red Cross Society.
Cheruto underscored the importance of the First Aid and Safety training workshop, saying it would go a long way in empowering the journalists in Busia to play a key role by offering First Aid to the victims in the event of disasters.
“The key objective of the Kenya Red Cross Society is humanity.
That is why we are urging you (trained journalists) to put into practice the knowledge you have gained from this First Aid and Safety training workshop so you can be able to give first priority to humanity, especially during disasters,” she emphasized.
She commended the Media Council of Kenya for taking the initiative to meet the cost of the First Aid and Safety training workshop.
She emphasized the training would empower the media, adding that the two organizations will continue to partner for the sake of humanity, which she noted is the key objective of her organization.
The senior Red Cross official said the organization is working with various donors to serve the disaster victims in nine counties in the Western region, comprising Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Kakamega, Homabay, Migori, Kisii, Vihiga, and Nyamira.
The organization is also undertaking the provision of water and sanitation during emergencies such as flooding.
It provides relief food to disaster victims in Kenya, health and nutrition services and mitigating the effects of flooding.
“There is an urgent need to disseminate information on the impending El-Niño rains expected to start in October 2023,” she said, urging the people living in flood-prone areas to move to higher grounds to avoid disasters.
Relief food distribution
After the First Aid and Safety training, the Kenya Red Cross Society and the MCK fully engaged the journalists in distributing relief food to 70 flood victims from Esiginga village in Bunyala West ward.
The First Aiders then boarded boats destined for Sango-Nang’anda village, a hair-raising and dangerous thirty-minute sail through the swollen River Nzoia where other flood victims had camped.
On arrival, the journalists, all donning the Kenya Red Cross T-shirts, distributed relief foods to the 34 flood victims at the Internally Displaced Persons camp to return to base ahead of the rains.
Giving first aid
First aid trainer Joseph Omondi, who presided over the first aid and safety training workshop, said the purpose of life is to touch a life.
He cautioned the journalists against compromising their safety while covering disasters by ensuring they have personal protective equipment (PPEs) comprising gloves and masks.
“Safety begins with you. Therefore, ensure your life comes first while aiding a disaster victim, and we must go universal when offering first aid. And remember that in first aid, we should not declare people dead, taking into account that knowledge and confidence are necessary,” he said.
Omondi emphasized that the key objectives of first aid are to save lives, prevent further injuries, promote recovery, and send for medical assistance or transport a casualty to a health facility for emergency medical attention.
“Ensure you wash your hands with soap and water before and after offering First Aid to a disaster victim,” said the trainer.
He urged the journalists to strictly observe the First Aid principles, which include the use of disposable gloves, reassuring a casualty, making a casualty comfortable, supporting the injured part, always working in front of the casualty, passing a bandage under a casualty’s hollow, applying the bandage firmly and also allowing for circulation checks while offering a First Aid service to the injured person.
He, at the same time, tipped the First Aid trainees on how to save the life of a snake bite victim.
“Whenever a snake has bitten a person closer to you, ensure you wash the bitten part of the body of a snake bite victim with plenty of running water and detergent so as to minimize the flow of poison to other parts of the body, especially the heart before being taken to a medical facility for further treatment,” he said.
Evans Teddy, a Kisumu-based Regional Coordinator for MCK, emphasized that the two organizations had considered convening the workshop to sensitize the journalists on their safety, considering that many a time, journalists’ lives when covering stories during emergencies are always at risk.
The senior MCK official asserted that apart from taking pictures, journalists can also assist their colleagues who have been affected in one way or another while in the line of duty, adding that the media council is set to undertake the training of journalists in most parts of the country on First Aid and Safety.
“This time we are concerned about the impending El-Nino rains. This is why the MCK and Kenya Red Cross Society have taken the initiative to sensitize you to be ready to handle it when it comes. We also want you journalists to apply your professionalism,” he said.
He further underscored the importance of safety, noting that journalists should observe and ensure their safety comes first.
“Journalists are always the first people to reach the most dangerous scenes for coverage. So, apart from reporting a story, they should be able to save the life of the victim because it affects them health-wise,” said Teddy.
“As journalists, we believe you are playing a very crucial role in news gathering. But whenever you are doing a dangerous story, you have the right to tell your editor that you are unable to cover a particular story for your own safety. Should you get injured, your media house will never bother to remunerate or cater for your medical bill,” he advised.
Kenya Red Cross, NHIF membership
Busia County’s Kenya Red Cross Society in charge of ambulance operation Jared Omondi urged Busia journalists to register in large numbers as bonafide members of both the Kenya Red Cross Society and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) scheme so they can benefit from the services being provided.
He explained that by becoming a member of the humanitarian organization, a member would get the services of the ambulance at an affordable rate.
“Our rates are affordable. I would therefore wish to urge you to register as members of the Kenya Red Cross Society to enable you to enjoy our services. We can be reached at 0700 395 395 for prompt ambulance services in any part of Busia County,” he said.
Kenya Red Cross Society Chairman Busia County Chapter, Raphael Emusala, lauded the MCK for its role in empowering the media across the country through professional training to ensure the provision of quality, reliable and up-to-date news articles.
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“We are proud to be associated with the Media Council of Kenya. First, for undertaking the initiative to fund the First Aid and Safety training and secondly, for providing effective training to the entire media fraternity across the country,” he said.