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Public health | Public security | Universities: All Haitian students must urgently receive training in First Aid and Security and self-defense

  • June 9, 2024
  • 7 Min
  • 8

Port-au-Prince, June 9, 2024 – Faced with gang violence, frequent road accidents, the impotence of national security forces and insufficient health coverage, radical measures to protect the country’s young citizens must be considered.

One of these measures would be the compulsory and urgent introduction of first aid and safety and self-defense courses in all higher education establishments. The transitional authorities will be able to use young, recently graduated doctors and nurses and agents of the PNH and FAd’H as trainers.

A response to national challenges

Insecurity has become a major problem in Haiti, affecting all aspects of daily life. Gangs control large parts of the territory, making the streets dangerous and increasing the risks of violence, kidnappings and attacks. At the same time, road accidents, often fatal, are on the rise, and medical infrastructure is struggling to meet the urgent needs of the population.

In this context, Haitian universities are offered a determining role in the fight against these crises. Thus, every student must receive training in first aid and safety and self-defense, an initiative that could save lives and strengthen community resilience.

First aid: Invaluable knowledge

First aid teaches actions that save. It helps stabilize the injured while waiting for help to arrive, which is particularly critical in a country where access to medical services is limited.

“In a situation where health infrastructures are often overwhelmed or inaccessible, the first minutes after an accident are crucial. The ability to administer first aid can make the difference between life and death,” recognizes a specialist working for La Paix Hospital in Delmas, a commune in the capital of Haiti.

Security and Self-defense: An imperative necessity

Safety and self-defense courses, meanwhile, aim to equip students with the skills needed to protect themselves against attacks. They include techniques for avoiding dangerous situations, strategies for defusing conflicts, and ways to defend yourself if attacked.

“Knowledge of personal defense techniques and security principles can not only protect students, but also deter criminals. A trained population is a more difficult population to target,” says the owner of a well-rated security agency in Pétion-Ville.

Multiple benefits

Save lives : Rapid interventions can reduce mortality and severity of injuries. In a country where help can take time to arrive, the ability of students to provide immediate and effective care can prevent deaths and limit the after-effects.

Reduce fear and stress : Trained students feel more secure and confident. Knowledge of personal defense techniques and first aid gestures allows them to move with more confidence, thus reducing anxiety linked to fear of attacks or accidents.

Reduce pressure on emergency services : Immediate care administered by trained first responders can ease the burden on hospitals and clinics. By providing effective on-site first aid, students can stabilize victims and reduce the need for intensive care, allowing medical services to focus on the most serious cases.

Strengthen social cohesion : Group training creates a spirit of mutual aid and solidarity among students. By learning together, they develop strong bonds and a sense of community, which can be crucial in emergency situations. This social cohesion contributes to a safer and more supportive environment, where everyone is ready to help their neighbor.

Call to action

University leaders, health authorities and security experts must unite to call on the transitional government to urgently make these trainings compulsory in all higher education establishments.

This initiative would require an initial investment in resources and trained personnel, but the long-term benefits to public safety and health would be invaluable.

In a country where violence and road accidents are commonplace, education in first aid and personal safety is more than a necessity, it is an emergency. It is time for Haiti to take concrete steps to protect its most vulnerable citizens by providing them with the tools necessary to survive and thrive in a challenging environment.

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