Soldiers, Teachers Team During First Aid Workshops
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's 448th Civil Affairs Battalion, deployed from Fort Lewis, Wash., partnered with the Dikhil, Djibouti, Office of Education Oct. 28 - 31, 2012, during two, two-day first aid workshops held for the area's teachers.
Several medical and dental personnel from the Ali Sabieh [Djibouti] and Dikhil Joint Civil Affairs teams and 448th CA BN Functional Specialty team shared best practices with 40 Djiboutian school instructors from the district's four primary schools.
"We're here to share best practices with the teachers in Dikhil on first aid so they can go back to their classrooms and make their classrooms safer for the kids," said U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Joshlyn Suazo, 448th CA BN FxSP combat medic noncommissioned officer-in-charge, and Upper Marlboro, Maryland, native deployed from Fort Belvoir, Va. "It's very helpful because they don't have a lot of medical care and medical treatment facilities in the area; [and] because they're usually going to be the first ones there or the first responders."
Several medical and dental interest areas were covered during the workshops.
"The teachers came here to learn basic first aid and how to treat things such as nose bleeds, choking, broken bones and bruises," said U.S. Army Specialist Stephanie Hatfield, Dikhil JCAT medic, and Cheney, Kan., native.
Throughout her lesson, U.S. Army Sergeant Renisha Perry, 448th CA BN FxSP dental technician, explained how to properly care for teeth.
"I shared how to brush, floss and take care of teeth," she said. "The main focus was to help with hygiene and care. The instructors were extremely excited to receive toothbrushes and toothpaste and showed much enthusiasm concerning their teeth. This was a great success, and we all enjoyed the experience."
During the four-day partner effort, Soldiers and teachers had to overcome an obvious language barrier. According to Hatfield, this barrier was rather insignificant as evidenced by the teacher's interaction throughout the workshop.
The teachers asked a lot of questions and seemed really excited, like they know what they're doing. Then there was an exercise where the teachers got to put their learning into action, Hatfield said.
At the conclusion of each day of the workshop, Soldiers staged a vehicle accident where school teachers had to assess and treat the simulated injured patients- an incident not likely to happen in the classroom.
"There's a major highway that runs through town and there are a lot of accidents that happen that involve the children," Hatfield said. "The teachers didn't really know what to do in that scenario. So it's great for the teachers to learn that. It builds a good rapport between our military and the teachers here."
Assistant regional chief of the Dikhil Office of Education, Warsama Omar, expressed his thanks for the support.
"The [Army medics] do a great job," Warsama said. "In the schools we don't have nurses. Accidents can happen at any time, so this is a good opportunity for us. This kind of training for us is a big thing."
After each two-day workshop, a ceremony was held to award the teachers a completion certificate and first aid kit for their classrooms. Warsama hopes the workshop can be held again to train the remaining teachers within the district.