FRIP, short for First Response Initiative of Pakistan, started when two medical students reached the site of a bomb blast in Karachi in the November of 2010.
They were trained in first response, a medical term used for the specialized training received by someone who is among the first to arrive/respond and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency. These students saw the chaos and the manhandling of the blast victims due to a lack of awareness. This inspired them to start FRIP, an initiative of training medical students to become first responders.
“In a country with extreme lack of health-care resources and personnel, FRIP is indeed making a huge impact in saving lives”, says Haris Sheikh, President at FRIP.
“What started off as a student-run body with a vision to reduce morbidity and mortality due to trauma, has now transformed into an organization of its own kind with multiple, fully functioning departments and an entire arsenal of first-responders and instructors.”
“The vision to minimize the loss of life and limb due to trauma has now become our mission and we are all working collectively to achieve it via our training; enabling not just medical students and doctors, but people from all walks of life, to administer prompt First-Response maneuvers in case of an emergency.” He adds.
Maheen Khan a fifth year medical student at Dow, and the Head of Media & Publications at FRIP, told us how the NGO has been striving to educate people from both med and non-med backgrounds about first response since 2012.
“We have conducted over 60 workshops in the past one year and taught very diverse audiences.”
FRIP has conducted workshops at multiple schools, and at universities like Habib and IBA. They also visit corporate offices and banks (these include L’Oreal and JS Bank). Furthermore they have also taught in communities likt he Kuchi Khatri and in Bohri areas.
“Many of our volunteers respond to road traffic accidents and take charge of the situation. Recently, a volunteer saved a little girl from choking. Another ensured safe transfer of patients to an ambulance after a horrendous accident; and one of our founding members resuscitated a man via CPR after a heart attack! We’re quite literally in the business of saving lives!” She added.
Saib Mujtaba, a fifth year medical student at Dow is the Head of Outreach & Indesign at FRIP, says that many doctors in the wards tell students how a patient brought in the ICU could have had a better recovery if this issue was addressed.
“An inaccurate perception exists among the people regarding the management of a trauma victim, that only a doctor can effectively help the individual. With some truth to it, we still believe that only a few basic techniques and key-points if taken care of by the person present at the sight of the incidence can definitely be the difference between life and death for the victim.” says Saib.
“We hold workshops for people belonging to all walks of life that include engineers, medical students, police, bankers etc. We modify our presentations and design the workshops according to the audience we are dealing with, to ensure the maximum efficiency and the comprehension of the information we convey,” he adds.
FRIP has also trained people in other parts of Sindh outside of Karachi;
“We have been striving hard in our mission to spread our message across Pakistan. And we say it with great pride that we have trained FRIP instructors in Bhittai Medical and Dental College, Mirpur Khaas. FRIP have also collaborated with MJSF, an NGO, and traveled to remote areas of Interior Sindh. We have also taught life-saving skills to the rural areas of Mithi, Chachro and Khipro of the Thar District and covered topics like snake bites, dog bites, heat stroke etc. It also includes Garri Khero, a small town lying on the extreme border of Sindh and Balochistan. Prior to the unfortunate blast at Sehwan Sharif, we had already conducted a workshop for the locals there as well.” says Saib.
Being run solely by students, FRIP welcomes donations of monetary, intellectual and technical nature, from those willing to support this lifesaving cause. For further info regarding donations and collaborations, you can email them at [email protected]
To read more about the experiences of the instructors and first hand encounters of FRIP trained volunteers in emergency situations, you can check out their website frip.org.pk.