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May 13 2014

Training to Save Lives

Emergency Response Training

Ambulance sirens fill the air, stretchers with injured on the ground, young monks with splints and bandages, CPR given to infants: This dramatic scene could be in the future of Nepal, but in this case it is a demonstration of the training received by the recent graduates of Karuna-Shechen’s program for Community First Aiders (CFA).


Nepal, and in particular the Kathmandu Valley, is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquakes (read more), flooding, and landslides. Shechen Clinic is located in Baudha, a congested area, where monasteries serve as community centers. When an emergency situation occurs, people tend to turn to monasteries and monks for help. But most of them are ill prepared and do not possess the knowledge to deal with such crises.

With this in mind, Karuna-Shechen and the Nepal Disaster and Emergency Medicine Center (NADEM) initiated an Advanced First Aid Training Program to train members of the local population so they can take charge and save lives in an emergency or natural disaster.

This first training was for 56 people and included 49 monks from the Shechen Monastery. The participants took a two-week intensive course at the Shechen Clinic. They trained in different departments of the clinic on emergency medical practices and medicines. At the Nepal Disaster and Emergency Medicine Center (NADEM), they learned Basic Trauma Support and Disaster Management, including how to administer CPR. The program is under the supervision of Dr. Ramesh Kumar Maharjanhey, the medical director of the clinic. Those who passed the exams earned a Community First Aider diploma.

For the demonstration, the monks divided into four groups and categorized patients by the severity of the injuries they suffered. For minor injuries, the patients were treated quickly and then asked to join the medical team and treat others. For those seriously injured, emergency first aid was provided until they could be transferred to an ambulance or to a hospital or medical relief center.

The young monks (ages 7-14) served as patients. In forty minutes our first aiders evaluated and treated 92 “victims”. It was a compelling scene in which the graduates performed with precision, dedication, and skill.

After two years, the certified person will have to take a refresher course in order to keep the certification. Karuna-Shechen will provide further training and implementation in the future and the next batch of trainees will include teachers, factory workers, and taxi drivers. We are working to help the Nepali people to be prepared for any possible future disasters.


To learn more about the possibility and impact of a major earthquake in Kathmandu :

Read this article by the United Nations


Emergency Response Group