First Responders provide the only available emergency care in the villages.
Emergency transportation services are virtually non-existent in rural India. Generally, patients travel by ox cart or are carried by family and friends to the nearest emergency center. Frequently, hours pass, before patients reach a treatment center. In an effort to provide limited on-site emergency care and to stabilize patients until they can be transported to a medical facility, Dalit Solidarity initiated a First Responders Program.
The program provides first aid training for two volunteers from each village. Dalit Solidarity board member, Dr. Susan Benedict, conducts the two-day seminars at St. Mary's Health Center. A variety of first aid topics are covered including treatment for fever, lacerations, diarrhea, choking, snake bites and CPR.
Initially, the curriculum was based largely upon the Hesperian Foundation's text, Where There is No Doctor. This past year, the Hesperian text, Where Women Have No Doctor, was added to the curriculum for all trainees. Responders are provided with a Tamil translation of each text.
Additional training is now provided regarding pregnancy and childbirth, breastfeeding, STIs and HIV/AIDS, physical assault, sexual assault and rape.
150 First Responders have been trained to date. Graduates agree to serve as volunteer first aid providers in their villages.
All responders meet monthly, to provide reports on their cases and share their experiences with fellow responders.
Approximately 50 additional responders are trained each year.