Ukraine’s future healthcare workers offer first aid training
A team of budding doctors and UPSHIFT programme participants have created a training centre where everyone can learn how to save lives
Since her childhood, 16-year-old Maria has dreamed of dedicating her life to medicine – and the full-scale war in Ukraine has only strengthened her desire to help others.
Recently, she enrolled in medical college in Kropyvnytskyi, where she met new friends and budding doctors 17-year-old Oleksander, 19-year-old Angelina, 17-year-old Sasha and 16-year-old Valeria. Together, they have been busy teaching others basic first aid.
"We see a big problem that many people don’t know the basics of first aid,” says Oleksandr. “It is important in peacetime, but it is more than just needed in times of war.”
The youngsters took the initiative as part of the UPSHIFT programme, run by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which helps young people to improve their knowledge and skills. Under the programme, the group were trained in project management, received mentoring support, developed a project idea plan and received resources for its implementation.
“I didn’t expect the programme to be so large-scale," says Maria, "I am really happy to have joined the UPSHIFT family. Here, I have gained a lot of experience and new friends. But what’s most important is that UPSHIFT gave us opportunities for our own projects."
The team’s MedHub training centre is equipped with everything they need to conduct practical training – mannequins, tourniquets, air ducts and other medical equipment. Since Maria and her friends are still studying to become doctors, experienced doctors were invited to conduct the training, with help from the team. Anyone aged 14 or over can attend the training.
“During our training, participants learn how to apply tourniquets and thus stop critical bleeding, tamponade wounds, and put a person in a stable lateral position, to free their airways,” explains Maria. “Participants also learn how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”
In total, the MedHub team has organized 15 training sessions, attended by more than 100 participants. They also offer on-site training – for example, they will soon hold a class for teachers at a school near Kropyvnytskyi.
Maria and her team plan to scale-up the project across the region. Since many remote towns and villages do not have access to hospitals and ambulances can take some time to reach them, basic knowledge about first aid can really save lives.
"I think our project is successful and the feedback from those who visited us proves this," says Maria.
“Yesterday, the training ended with applause,” adds Oleksandr. “That is because people liked it. They also leave positive comments on our social media. People want to know more because they need it."
The war in Ukraine has caused serious humanitarian challenges across the country. As young people are one of the driving forces of communities, UNICEF has engaged UPSHIFT participants to help address these challenges. Over the past year, 115 teams (464 young people aged 14 to 24) have participated in the UPSHIFT programme and developed their projects, reaching more than 27,000 beneficiaries.