(First) Aid for refugees

Filipiada refugee camp
Photo story
June 15, 2017

A GROUP set up by Doctors of the World and refugees to help them integrate into their local community has completed training designed to help them stay safe, help them help their families, and improve mental health in the community as a whole.

The Etahad group, set up by refugees and DotW health workers at Filipiada refugee camp, north-western Greece, has been trained in first aid by DotW nurse Sofia Kanina, along with interpreter Aram Mohamadi and Ioannis Anagnostou, the team’s psychologist, who was central to forming the group.

Yiannis explained: ‘The group exists because the community here wanted some activities to do, and to get to know their locale and the people who live within it. It’s something which offers a sense of purpose, and of course helps them to learn more about the area they are living in, and the people who they live alongside. It’s an important step for integration, and it’s going really well so far, with real commitment and engagement by the group’s members.

‘The first aid training was something they suggested, and it’s also really important because they are in part a hiking group and some of these skills can be vital if something happens while they are in the hills and mountains.’

Sofia added: ‘The good thing about first aid training is that it’s also helping the people here regain some control over their lives. No-one is expected to deal with emergencies on their own, but this helps them to recognise the difference between a direct emergency and something they can work on solving themselves, and it also offers them direct knowledge, and a sense that there is another element of their lives that they can directly affect and make better.

‘If we are to move more towards helping people feel more independent and to play a greater part in their own futures, we can only help them by helping them to feel more confident. This is a small part of that process.’

The DotW team trained 14 people, aged 17-48, in: fever management; diarrhoea management; burns management; how to respond if someone is choking; trauma management; and what should be included in a first aid kit.       

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