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Stayin Alive

One thing you learn on a mission is to never take anything for granted. Despite a really stellar nursing school – currently there are a total 500 men and women enrolled in the two-year program. While their training is extensive Medical Missions discovered they do not receive CPR training.

Statistics show that 90 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest die before reaching a hospital. Many Ugandans would have to travel hours to reach a hospital, if they even have access to transport, as there are only 155 hospitals in the entire country for a population of 42.86 million. Starting effective CPR within two minutes can increase the chance of survival by 200 percent to 300 percent so teaching these students will hopefully have a trickle down effect within the community, allowing them to ultimately train others. Oh and I forgot to mention – the doctors have not been CPR-trained either so they also went through training.

And oh what a training they have had! That’s due to our expert education team comprised of Sarah Heldstab, Amy Taitt and Denise Sweeney. These ladies know their stuff but they also know that to keep a captive audience. I’m currently sitting outside the library at the nursing school where trainings are being conducted as I write this blog and the laughter, cheers and music are echoing through the halls. Music you ask? What does music have to do with CPR? I’m certain that when the BeeGee’s recorded Stayin Alive in 1977 for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack they had no idea that it utterly had the perfect beat for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The song contains 103 beats per minute which is close to the recommended chest compression rate of 100-120 beats every 60 seconds. And because that hit is virtually universal the students were movin’ and groovin’ and compressin’ to the music! Our resident musician, Mark Lowrey even sat in on a training with his keyboard and p-rovided a live version for the students. By week’s end 200+ will have been trained!

Our trainers have truly been moved by how eager their students have been to learn CPR. They have been engaged, so engaged that they’ve been literally breaking a sweat during their practice sessions – which says a lot considering you rarely see these folks sweat about anything! Once group was so thankful after receiving their certificates they asked the trainers to stand at the front of the room so they could do this…

Picking flowers and giving them to you!