How do first responders find the location of a nearby emergency in a village where there are no roads or addresses? This is one of the challenges for emergency medical services when responding to emergencies in Bedouin villages in the south. The high number of emergencies caused by the difficult living conditions – sanitary conditions, unsafe infrastructures – means that the issue is all the more vital.

A new program aims to bridge that gap. Through a first aid training course for Bedouin high school students, the goal of the program is to train them to know what to do in cases of emergencies, but also to build trust and awareness of the issue in the Bedouin communities.

Dr. Keren Moss, an internal medicine specialist, and United Hatzalah volunteer, is spearheading the efforts on behalf of United Hatzalah, together with Rami Shaya, head of United Hatzalah’s Har Hanegev branch. “It’s part of our efforts to improve our connection and the ability to provide effective emergency medical services within the Bedouin community,” Dr. Moss said. “The challenge that we have as emergency medical services is to arrive within Bedouin villages that often don’t have roads or addresses. Our hope is that the children in this course will become ambassadors, which will help us arrive at the scenes of emergencies and communicate better with the Bedouin community, specifically around medical emergencies. Sometimes it takes us a very long time to find a specific person or accident and our hope is that these children will help us communicate in a more effective manner and allow us to arrive quicker within the Bedouin villages in order to provide good medical support to the Bedouin community in the Negev.”

The course consists of three sessions during which the students learn the fundamentals of first aid, from CPR to choking and responding to allergic reactions. The first to take part in the program were students from the Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj, and Dr. Moss and Mr. Shaya hope to expand it to additional villages.

“We not only hope to develop a better relation and communication with the Bedouin community to help them help us give the whole community a better service but also that it can help young Bedouins feel part of Israeli society and able to contribute in a positive way,” concluded Shaya.

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