FIRST Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s passion for humanitarian work and quest to save lives has seen her obtaining a certificate in industrial basic first aid from the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society which went to honour her outstanding works with a donation of medical equipment.
Dr Mnangagwa, who is also the country’s health ambassador, graduated alongside other students from her class who testified how she excelled in the training.
Amai Mnangagwa is committed to saving lives as witnessed by the various programmes she undertakes countrywide. Therefore, the first aid training compliments her line of duty by equipping her with the requisite knowledge to provide basic care for patients anywhere, anytime.
The First Lady said there was a need for all Zimbabweans to have basic knowledge of first aid given that emergencies were a daily occurrence.
She also received medical equipment that include oxygen concentrators and first aid kits from the Red Cross which were donated to her by the Singapore Red Cross through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
She said the oxygen concentrators will be distributed among hospitals across the country.
“I feel greatly honoured to stand before you all as we witness the power of humanity through a donation of life-saving equipment which will go a long way in capacitating our health delivery system.
“I am also delighted to be graduating with a Basic First Aid certificate after I underwent the lifesaving skills training facilitated by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society,” she said.
The donation of oxygen concentrators, the First Lady said would go a long way in rejuvenating the public health delivery systems.
She acknowledged the Zimbabwe Red Cross which sourced the equipment from Singapore Red Cross.
“The Red Cross has shown that to the universality of suffering, the response is the universality of humanitarian action, which we are witnessing today, sharing the responsibility of serving humanity as it knows no frontiers.
These oxygen concentrators and oxygen tanks will be distributed among hospitals across the country, and I can assure you that this donation will be fully utilised for the benefit of the Zimbabwean populace,” Dr Mnangagwa said.
Speaking on the importance of first aid training, the mother of the nation said it is a lifesaving skill, which anyone can rely on at any given time.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I also have the honour of speaking today as I graduate with a certificate in basic first aid. We have read about students drowning in swimming pools at schools, some families losing their beloved children to emergencies at homes and the many road accidents that continue to claim lives every other day. All such unfortunate incidents call for us to be equipped with basic first aid skills so that we know how to respond to emergencies as they arise.
“There is need for all Zimbabweans to have basic knowledge of First Aid given that emergencies are a daily phenomenon. First aid remains an integral component in our everyday lives, whether at home, school, workplace, or travelling,” she said.
While First Aid is important for everyone, Amai Mnangagwa said it was even more important for women as they are the ones who are exposed to the need for such services in most cases like at home, at work, in the fields, and almost everywhere.
“This then calls for a more concerted effort to ensure that these trainings are decentralised to the grassroots in communities across the country so that we empower women without discrimination due to access. To the women of Zimbabwe, I am saying we also want to see leadership skills. This certificate I have done for women to see that the sky is the limit, we can do it madzimai,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She acknowledged the critical role which the Red Cross plays saying first aid is a key pillar for building safer, more resilient communities which in turn are best placed to increase the impact of disaster preparedness and reduce risks to health.
“First aid is not only about lifesaving techniques. It is an act of humanity showing willingness to save lives with full respect for diversity and without discrimination.
“I am told that the Red Cross has partnered with the Traffic Safety Council in providing Basic Road First Aid, aimed at reducing loss of lives due to road carnages.
I implore relevant authorities to ensure that this life-saving training is embedded in all drivers’ training. As a mother, I feel all drivers must have the basic knowledge of first aid so that they can render assistance to those injured on the road. I humbly ask the Minister of transport to take this seriously and add it to the training of drivers because doing so, will save lives,” she said.
The First Lady bemoaned the sudden increase of bogus and fake first aid training institutions saying this will lead to loss of lives.
“Of late there has been a surge in the uptake of nurse aide training for various reasons. However, this increase has also seen a proliferation of bogus and fake first aid training institutions which are fleecing people of the hard-earned cash. It is important that, in line with the international norm, the Red Cross be given a statutory mandate to be first aid and nurse aide training regulator to ensure quality services and minimise exposure to fly-by-night briefcase people,” she said.
She added, “Allow me to thank the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and its partners for the sterling work they are doing in alleviating the plight of the most vulnerable. Based on the successes we have witnessed today, it is evident that no challenge is insurmountable if we unite and commit ourselves to work towards solving it.”
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro congratulated Dr Mnangagwa for her achievement.
“Today is a day that has been long coming and it culminated to this. I was telling the First Lady that wherever a person is, there is a possibility of an accident and it can even be at home. By the time you get to the clinic, the help you get first will be from these small boxes (first aid kits). Definitely, this training Amai, is a great achievement because everywhere, anytime anything can happen,” he said.
Dr Mangwiro said in some situations if a patient doesn’t receive basic first aid care immediately their situation will deteriorate.
Therefore, the First Lady’s well-thought idea to train in first aid, he said, will help save lives considering she is always traversing the length and breadth of the country conducting her humanitarian work.
He said it would help the First Lady to know how to react when an emergency strikes especially in remote areas where health centres are not easily accessible.
“The First Lady goes around the country conducting her philanthropic works. She is interested in uplifting the lives of the marginalised communities, especially women and children. We know she is an advocate for a healthy population, and a philanthropist and she goes everywhere where there is need. We know that this donation of oxygen concentrators and the first aid certificate she obtained will definitely be put to good use,” he said.
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society Secretary General Mr Elias Hwenga said the humanitarian work being done by the First Lady across the country speaks volumes about her passion for humanity adding that in her line of duty she comes across people in need of first aid.
“We were humbled when we received a request from the First Lady that she wanted to be trained in first aid. When the Red Cross team was conducting the training, they were astonished by how humble the First Lady was going through the drills and she got distinctions. Many may wonder what could have motivated her excellency, the First Lady to want to be trained in first aid, the humanitarian work she is doing across the country speaks volumes about her passion for humanity. She interacts with many people of different age groups, and many communities in different settings, in that set-up, Amai comes across people in need of first aid. She could not just watch helplessly hence her desire to undergo this first aid training so that she brings change to the lives of the people in the communities,” he said.
He thanked the First Lady for having people at heart and her desire to save lives.
Furthermore, he said having basic first aid knowledge means that one will be confident in his or her skills and abilities in relation to first aid administration.
“Many people take first aid for granted but let me tell you, let us follow the example that was shown by the First Lady. When disasters fall, they might not happen where you are easily accessed by a doctor, they will not happen where you can easily get an ambulance, the first people who attend are those who are around you in your community. Thank you Amai for leading the way in that regard. As we hand over certificates today to the First Lady and other graduates, we also did not lose sight of the Covid-19 pandemic which has ravaged the whole world. It has taken many lives. Today we have come with a donation of oxygen concentrators and first aid kits to make sure we save lives. We are giving them to the First Lady so that she helps communities,” Mr Hwenga said.
One of the trainers who took the First Lady through the skills training, Ms Privilege Mubaira said she participated just like any other student.
She described Amai Mnangagwa as an excellent student.
“I was part of the team that trained the First Lady and I must say she is an excellent student. She participated well during the training and took part in all the activities including the practicals. She really grasped the concepts. Amai was just like any other student and she really humbled herself making us feel comfortable and at ease when around her. We imparted her with knowledge of basic first aid and how to save lives. I am happy that today she received her certificate together with her other classmates. No matter where you are, professional medical help may not always be immediately available. By taking action through effective first aid, we can save countless lives. I believe by now Amai can even save a life. Makorokoto Amai,” she said.
Her classmates described her as a strong team player who made the learning process a pleasure.
Ms Lauriel Van Eden said she felt uplifted learning with the mother of the nation.
“I trained with Red Cross together with Amai. As a woman, i felt so uplifted training with her leading us the way. It is such an inspiration as women to be able to have done this first aid course. It is also important for everyone in any community to be equipped with basic first aid training to save lives. If any emergency arises, we are the first responders and we are now able to help in any situation before an ambulance arrives. I hope that women out there will follow Amai’s footsteps and do the training. She is showing us as women how it is done and what we can do. She has led the way for us, women let us follow.”
Mr Stanely Chaitezvi weighed in saying: “I was part of the class that trained with Mama, the First Lady. Actually, it was an honor and privilege to be her classmate. She cooperated very well during the training and she is a fast learner. I believe what Amai did, undertaking the course is key for everyone, for every organization, and for the nation. If Amai can do this, why not me, why not you, why not us. This should be of paramount importance to every organisation. If we have at least two people in an organisation with a first-aid certificate, they will have the capability of saving lives in case of an emergency at the workplace. Safety should be your number one priority. Proper first aid training goes the distance to educate trainees on how to engage safety consciousness at work. Such training makes it easy for employees to avoid accidents and injuries while on duty. Emergencies can strike anytime, anywhere, and affect anyone.” – Herald