By Mirabelle Enaka Kima, IFRC

Guided by his passion for football, Martin Domwa joined Cameroon Red Cross in 2004 to serve as a first aid volunteer, during football tournaments in his hometown Garoua, in the northern region of Cameroon. Within a short period of time, he became a skilled first aid volunteer and could assist injured players and spectators while watching football.

“In 2008 while serving as a teacher, I joined the Mayo Sava Red Cross branch where I gained a lot of experience in my duties as a first aid team leader, focusing on providing assistance to people that are exposed to situations of violence and armed attacks in the region,” says Domwa.

The Mayo Sava is a division of Cameroon’s Far North region, which since 2014, has experienced a series of suicide bombing attacks which claimed many lives and forced hundreds of families to flee further to other regions for safety.

Martin Domwa is one of the 16 first aid trainers of the Cameroon Red Cross to have participated in the first training organized by the institution on Advanced First Aid. The main goal was to adapt the existing skills to situations of blasts, fragmented injuries and mass casualty incidents.

“The training programme has enabled us acquire knowledge on how to provide assistance in cases of specific incidents, on how to instruct colleagues on administering first aid, and most essentially, on how to manage all types of first aid material and equipment especially in low resources settings,” says Domwa.

Today, Martin has trained 32 volunteers in the Mayo Sava area and plans to train an additional 48 volunteers from villages in the Cameroon’s Far North region along the border with Nigeria and where communities continue to be exposed to violence from armed groups.  “Thanks to the training programme, we gained more confidence in the way we manage our teams and provided first aid care to people injured following suicide bomb attacks, which occurred recently in Amchide (a village along the border with Nigeria in the Far north region in November 2018),” says Domwa.

“We however continue to face challenges in terms of the distances to cover during interventions and the lack of appropriate individual branded jackets for easy identification of volunteer teams during night operations,” adds Domwa.

The International Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Swedish Red Cross continue to provide funding and technical support for the ongoing operation to address the urgent needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who are affected by the Lake Chad crisis in Cameroon’s Far North. The intervention also provides Red Cross teams with skills in psychosocial support and advanced first aid in a bid to strengthen their response capacities.