Hailing the World First Aid Day in 2020 and brilliant activities of Myanmar Red Cross Society

The Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) is committed to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable people. PHOTO: Supplied

By:Tommy Pauk

Once we hear “World First Aid Day”, we realize that this day is marked for honouring Red Cross Societies and their humanitarian services around the world. The phrase “First Aid” represents the basic medical treatment given to the injured persons by the Red Cross volunteers indeed.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) introduced World First Aid Day in 2000.Every year, World First Aid day is celebrated with events and ceremonies on the second Saturday of September around the world in order to raise awareness of how First Aid can save lives in everyday and in crisis situations. World First Aid day enlightens and reminds the global people for cultivating humanitarian spirit to help those who are in calamity.
Furthermore, we all need to cooperate with the members of Red Cross society in eliminating human sufferings or in saving lives whenever the crisis or catastrophe occurs around us. The Red Cross members are normally trained -volunteers who contribute the humanitarian activities to the victims of disasters or help in saving human lives with first aid treatment and basic medical attention. They conduct their rescue operations on voluntary basis. The first aid course is given to the persons who wish to join the national Red Cross societies. The Red Cross societies are the ones which carry out emergency response to the horrendous natural disasters, collaborating with other rescue forces or rescue teams whenever the disasters occur.
The History of Myanmar Red Cross Society(formerly known as Burma Red Cross Society)
As the leading and oldest humanitarian organization in Myanmar, the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) is committed to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable people. It began its operations in 1920 as a branch of the Indian Red Cross Society. After Burma formally separated from Indian in 1937, the Society obtained official, national status in 1939and was admitted to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 1946.
Following this, Burma Red Cross Act was enacted in 1959 (additional amendments in 1964, 1971, and 1988), which conferred responsibility to the National Society in implementing humanitarian activities and alleviating human suffering.
Additionally, under this Act, the St. John Ambulance Brigade Overseas was taken over by the Society as the Burma Ambulance Brigade. Then this Brigade became as an only organization under the Burma Red Cross. In 1989, the Burma Red Cross Society was renamed Myanmar Red Cross Society in accordance with legislative change of the name from Burma to Myanmar
The MRCS new Law was enacted in August 2015 and it has been introduced to Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners, UN organizations, and INGOs, LNGOs, CBOs and media groups in October.

Henry Dunant Medal ( The highest medal award of Red Cross movement )
Sai Aung Hlaing Myint is the only one in Myanmar who won the Henry Dunant Medal (The highest medal award of Red Cross Movement) awarded byICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). He had worked for Myitkyina RedCross Society in Kachin State, Myanmar.
The Henry Dunant Medal is the highest award of the Red Cross Movement. It is named after Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross Movement. The medal is presented every two years by the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. This body represents the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the various National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
In Myanmar, four people have been awarded Florence Nightingale medals so far.
1. Daw Khin Ohn Mya (Matron; Senior Nursing Officer ) in 1963
2. Daw Ahnm Yaw Nam (Higher Grade Nurse) in 1993
3. Daw Thein Yee (Midwife) in 2001
4. U Sa Naing Naing Tun in 2010

The Florence Nightingale medal
Daw Khin Ohn Myawon the Florence Nightingale medal awarded by ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) in 1963. She had served for Military hospitals in Myanmar.
Daw Ahnm Yaw Nam won the Florence Nightingale medal awarded by ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) in 1993. She had served for People’s hospitals in Shan state, Myanmar.
Daw Thein Yee won the Florence Nightingale medal awarded by ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) in 2001. She had served for District Hospitals in Sagaing Region, Myanmar.
U Sa Naing Naing Htun won the Florence Nightingale medal awarded by ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) in 2010.
U Sa Naing Naing Htun had been assigned as male nurse to work for District Hospitals of Ayeyarwaddy Region in Myanmar.
We, Myanmar are proud of one Henry Dunant medal winner and four winners of Nightingale Medal. The international communities lauded them for their boldness, heroic deeds, kindness and selflessness in saving the lives of the victims encountered the catastrophe. The fame and glory of these persons have brightened our country’s image and we take pride in their heroic deeds for saving human lives.
The Nightingale Medal is awarded to those distinguished in the nursing field for their and bold, sacrificing tasks in saving victims’ lives during disastrous situations. At the Eighth International Conference of Red Cross Societies in London in 1907, the assembled delegates decided to create a commemorative International Nightingale Medal to be awarded to those distinguished in the nursing field.
Subsequently, the Florence Nightingale Medal was instituted in 1912 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
It is the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve and is awarded to nurses or nursing aides for “exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled or to civilian victims of a conflict or disaster” or “exemplary services or a creative and pioneering spirit in the areas of public health or nursing education”.

The Participation of Myanmar Youths in Red Cross Movement as brigade members
We, in Myanmar value the philanthropic service and activities of MRCS which contributes to the public. Most of the young people from all walks of life join the MRCS, contributing their voluntary service to the victims encountered multiple disasters. The youths who are willing to serve as volunteers for MRCS activities have to take the First Aid course training so that they will be able to treat the victims well. They also have to be fit both, physically and mentally.
The youth members belong to MRCS not only participate in saving victims or medevac, but in the public sanitation activities, mass rally of ceremonies, religious ceremonies and traditional festivals. They serve as the auxiliary force to help the public in holding such occasions and social welfare in our country.
In case of emergency, MRCS youth volunteers known as brigade members always carry out the rescue operations to save lives of the victims of natural disasters, cooperating with Myanmar Fire Brigade and Army soldiers. Besides, when the country faces pandemic-outbreak and famine, the brigade members work together with medical workers and other relief teams or NGOs for saving the victims of pandemic and famine.

Myanmr Red Cross Society Brigade operating with energetic Youths
In conclusion, the World first Aid day (on the second Saturday of September each year) should be regarded as honoring of all those involved in Red Cross Movement worldwide. On the other hand, Myanmar has long beentaken part in Red Cross Movement actively and enthusiastically. The motto of MRCS says: “Red Cross Society must be accessible to all villages and towns nationwide”. (“မြို့ရွာအရောက် ကြက်ခြေနီခရီးပေါက်ရမည်”)
We are obliged to honour all National Red Cross Societies, the International Committee of The Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)and various Red Crescent Societies for theirconcerted efforts to help and save human lives from the multiple crises on earth.

Credit: တက္ကသိုလ် ဇော်ထူးဦး
Reference: Wikipedia
MRCS (Myanmar Red Cross Society)

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