A MEDICAL student studying in St Andrews has helped to provide thousands of people in Ghana with paediatric first aid training as part of a summer project.

Radhe Shantha Kumar, 27, is taking part in the Laidlaw programme which offers funding to students to travel and carry out a project which will have a significant impact.

While looking for non-profits to partner with, Kumar came across Millie’s Trust – a leading first aid charity established by two parents following the loss of their daughter Millie after a choking incident at a nursery.

“It’s so unfortunate that we need to lose someone, that we need something so significant to understand that we need paediatric first-aid training”, Kumar (below) told The National.

The National:

Working with Millie’s Trust, Kumar received her paediatric first aid training free of cost before looking into partnering with someone else.

She eventually teamed up with the Asabir Foundation in Ghana and has worked there across the summer to help thousands learn skills which could help to save a child’s life.

Working in Ghana

Kumar has been based in Adenta but has spent much of her time travelling around rural Ghana with her workshops.

She explained: “I’ve been helping to run these workshops and teaching people how to respond to a medical emergency with a child if, for example, they’re not breathing, if they have a fracture or are bleeding or choking.

“I think it’s so important because of situations like what happened to Millie but there are still people out there who don’t know what to do in these situations.

“There’s quite a lot of misconceptions about what you do in these situations. The best analogy I can think of is having this training is like getting your driver’s licence before driving a car.

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“It’s giving you the skills you need before you surround yourselves with children and that goes for students as well as teachers.

“Myself included, prior to taking the training, there were a lot of minor skills that I just didn’t have.”

The project has led to more than 5000 people being trained in paediatric first aid and Kumar is pleased with her work.

She explained that she had seen a lot of suffering in the country’s rural areas and hopes that her project shows how much of a positive impact international co-operation can have.

Making first-aid accessible

Although Kumar’s work is currently based in Ghana, she explains that she wishes first-aid training in the UK was both more accessible and embedded into the curriculum.

“I think if a course isn’t sponsored by your work or a big organisation, then the probability of people taking a course becomes much smaller”, she said.

The National:

“We need for this knowledge to be shared free of cost. I almost feel like it’s a right and people shouldn’t be charged any money to take part.”

She feels that one way to tackle this would be to introduce compulsory paediatric first-aid care courses at school and university level.

“That would help us target the root of the problem. When you’re at school, it’s not just teachers who can help out, it’s your mates as well," she added.

“It’s instinctive if it’s embedded in your education as you grow up. I would say that if we can have a paediatric training course in the curriculum then that could be life changing.”