Submitted by Michaela Sholes
The MoM team worked on a plan for identifying locally available and cost-effective items to be included in a community first aid kit. Some things were easier than others to identify: for example, clean white cloth for slings/swathes/bandages are readily available in the local market, while sterile tweezers, gauze, and scissors are somewhat more difficult to locate at a cost-friendly rate! Although gauze is available fairly cheaply, it is not in sterile packaging. While visiting a local pharmacy, we discovered all kinds of things that were presented to us as "appropriate for putting on wounds," not all of which were actually useful. It's not as simple either, as the temptation to jump to judgement of the pharmacies and medicine sellers. If sterile gauze is hard for the seller to access, then that translates into a higher cost for those wanting to buy it. In relation to medication, the danger lays not necessarily in WHAT is sold, but HOW it is sold. I went in asking for a cream to keep my wound clean and was handed (without instructions regarding the differences of each) one described for burns, one for skin fungus, and one triple antibiotic ointment.
In more Westernized areas, these things tend to be much simpler and we don't think much about it. If you get a scratch or small wound, you put some neosporin on it and be about your business. If it's a larger wound, you make a quick trip perhaps to the 24-hour emergency room and get yourself fixed up. But I've realized through exploring these avenues, that many of us are perhaps more dependent than we think on our "band-aids and neosporin". If we found ourselves without our two easy fixes and no emergency room in reach, would we know what to do? How many of us know how to keep a wound clean without alcohol and antibacterial creams available?