Estonia Sent First Aid Kits to Helmand Province in Afghanistan
Eestlased Eestis 28 May 2010  EWR
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Within the framework of a development co-operation project funded by the Foreign Ministry, the NPO Mondo and the Estonian Defence Forces sent 1 500 first aid kits to Afghanistan, which are meant to be given to those in Helmand Province who complete first aid training. Sending the first aid kits is part of the development co-operation project that has the goal of launching first aid training for adults in Helmand Province. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the first aid kits will be distributed to women in Helmand after they have completed their first aid training. The first aid kits contain household medical supplies, including dressing materials and supplies for cleaning and closing wounds.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that it is important to give attention to the capability of local residents to care for their own health and the health of their families. “Many health problems that are widespread in developing nations can be lessened or prevented entirely by basic practices that are commonplace for us, like washing hands and cleaning wounds,” said Paet. “Establishing a first aid training network aimed primarily towards women will help to increase the health-related knowledge of the population and also include women more in community life,” he added.

Anu Raisma, the Estonian health care expert working in Helmand Province, said that by now the first midwives have received training through the project and are teaching first aid in the women’s centre in the city of Lashkar Gah´. “The interest in the first aid courses has been tremendous, because in a situation where it’s difficult to get medical attention, knowledge of first aid and practical skills are extremely important,” said Raisma. “In addition to first aid kits specially made for homes, those who complete the training will also receive first aid manuals in Pashto,” Raisma stated.

The goal of the two-year training project is to find, with the help of Estonian health care expert Anu Raisma, female doctors and people from local women’s organisations to implement the project, organise training for the instructors and start up the courses. “With first aid training courses in health care establishments and women’s centres, we hope to create a network through which local women can pass the knowledge and skills they’ve learned onto others,” Raisma explained. “Knowledge of first aid and how to administer it are very important for the local people. The project also offers an opportunity to improve the health and living conditions of the residents of the province and spread knowledge of first aid to communities where access to medical care is practically nonexistent,” said Raisma.

The total cost of the two-year training project is 2 246 580 kroons (143 600 EUR). Afghanistan is one of Estonia’s priority partner countries for development co-operation and developing the health care sector is central to our activities. An Estonian health care expert has been working in the city of Lashkar Gah´ in Helmand province since March 2008, carrying out Estonian development co-operation projects on site and consulting for the leadership of the UK Provincial Reconstruction Team and the Helmand provincial government on the development of the health care system.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries on earth. A large part of the country’s population lives in extreme poverty, especially women and children. Close to 70% of the people are illiterate and 46% of Afghan children lack access to education.

Additional information on Estonia’s contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan: http://www.vm.ee/?q=en/node/40...

Additional information on the project on MTÜ Mondo’s webpage: http://mondo.org.ee.

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