Press Releases



09/14/2014 19:33




Back in May, 2014, members of Albany, Oregon Fire Department representing Global Mission Readiness traveled to Ghana, West Africa for our second installment of training in the regions surrounding Kumasi. Their goal was to teach community educators, National Disaster Management Organization members and clinic workers in basic first aid and trauma care. Following the original training curriculum taught in Kumasi in 2011, the team expanded to the the Sekyere Aframs Plains District outside of town to smaller villages and rural communities. With trauma being a leading cause of death within the small nation, our hope is that the education we are providing will spread to others  through our student educators.  By providing education on health care, it is our hope that the impact of disaster and disease is lessened.

Initially planned as a single five-day course, it quickly became evident the need was much greater.  The class duration was reduced to 3 days and broken into three different regions to accomodate over 100 people.  The topics included splinting, bleeding control, bandaging, spinal immobilization, medical emergencies and CPR.  At the conclusion of the courses, all training material, bandaging supplies and equipment was donated to the agencies taught.  With government support limited, our contributions are vital despite how small they are.

It truly is an eye opener when your students biggest worries are finding clean water, lack of electricity, no hospital and no transportation.  When the fire department apparatus have few tools and little to no training, it makes our passion to return even greater.  We are currently looking to return to the region to continue our support.  Please follow the link above to donate to this cause.

From Ghana Team Leader Jake Gartland:

"The Global Mission Readiness (GMR) team was pleased to see the presence of the Ghana National Fire Service in multiple towns. The placement, staffing, and resources of the GNFS is sparse, however, the attitudes and skill level of the firefighters we spoke with was second to none. We also visited a Catholic clinic in Drobonso, and were very impressed with the level of care that they were able to provide to patients in such a remote and resource-poor area. 

After speaking with many residents of the Sekyere Afram Plains district, the GMR team felt like our training could have a very positive impact on the community. Due to its remoteness and lack of medical facilities, many residents simply picked up the sick and injured and put them on a motorbike, hoping for the best. This is not out of carelessness, rather out of necessity. 

After our training, we feel as though the students are better able to recognize serious medical and traumatic emergencies, provide basic life support measures, and be more proficient in packaging that patient for the long ride to medical services. Many of our students reported seeing many of these emergencies in the past but not knowing what to do about them. It is our hope that the students will now become the teachers, and take the skills back to their homes, workplaces and communities, so that others can benefit from the knowledge.

It would be easy for us to suggest adding more fire stations, more hospitals, more ambulances, etc., however, we realize that in a resource scarce area like the Afram Plains, this is simply not realistic. After touring many areas of the District, we did come up with an action plan that we feel would make a drastic improvement in the lives of the District's population. Instead of building a hospital in Drobonso, we think that improving the main road would be a wiser way to spend money. By improving the road, trade would be easier and more affordable, which would improve the economy of the area. Sick and injured people could easily be transported from the clinic to an existing hospital, and an existing ambulance could transport patients without any concerns of road quality. A new road would address many areas of concern, rather than just the concern of health.

In closing, the entire GMR team is extremely grateful for the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with the wonderful people of Ghana. We all had a wonderful trip, and are excited to see what the future holds for the Afram Plains area. I can speak for the entire GMR organization in saying that if one life is saved because of the training we provided, it was worth every dollar spent and every hour of travel."



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