Nabat Cholphove had reason to be proud when the life-saving skills she had taught as a volunteer with the Turkmenistan Red Crescent were put to good use.
She says: “I had trained a lady in first aid. One day there was a fire and someone became unconscious. The woman was able to protect their airway until the ambulance arrived and they subsequently revived her. People thanked me because I was the one who had taught her first aid.”
Nabat, 40, teaches as a volunteer with the Turkmenistan Red Crescent’s community based health and first aid programme – which brings important knowledge to thousands of people in rural areas of the country.
She works as a family nurse, but also volunteers in her spare time to spread key messages about issues including first aid, sanitation, hygiene and maternal health. In 2011, a team of about 400 volunteers delivered the programme to more than 22,000 people in 10 of the country’s districts.
Nabat says: “I go to a family’s home and introduce myself as a Red Crescent volunteer. We then assess together what it is that the family would like to learn about or change. From there, we make a plan together on how best the learning or change can take place, and be followed up.
“For example, if there is a large family with very short intervals between children, then we focus on family planning. We always make sure to analyse their needs with them and plan accordingly.”
Nabat also checks the understanding of clients before and after they receive the intervention, to make sure the programme’s messages are getting through. And, in some cases, she sees for herself how the knowledge she brings makes a big difference long after the lessons have stopped.