In a move that would prepare foresters to provide first aid support to their colleagues while on patrol in the forest, the World Wildlife Fund trained 33 foresters on Field Medical Aid.

Currently, although medical doctors brief foresters about first aid before they leave for patrolling, the briefing is deemed inadequate and does not prepare the foresters to handle accidents and related illnesses in the wild, foresters said.

Foresters said that injuries, infections and related illnesses are common during patrolling.

A forester of Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Kuenley Gyeltshen, said that most common medical care required in the wilderness is related to bleeding because of leech bite, muscle pain, cuts, fall injuries, fractures, and infections.

“The type of first aid we practice is a crude. Now we know how to handle it properly,” he said.

He said that when foresters were trained to patrol the wild, they were trained just to do patrolling, but first aid training is equally important.  In the Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, between 2010 and 2013, there were maximum fractures cases and injuries because of wildlife attack on foresters, he said.

Wilderness first aid is comprehensive medical training, especially designed for needs of the forestry officials who venture into remote and challenging environments.

World Wildlife Fund said this course taught the foresters how to manage medical emergencies when hospitals and rescue services are not available.

Wilderness medicine differs significantly from standard first aid courses and other training.

Senior forester of Sarpang division, Lhapchu Tshering, said that the course was comprehensive and could be of great help.

He said that besides other emergencies, food poisoning and dislocation of joints were common incidences foresters suffered in the Southern belt. “A lot of fall injuries occur while chasing wild animals.”

Foresters patrol at least thrice a month and each patrolling lasts for three to four days.

Foresters and rangers who conduct long-range patrols in the Royal Manas National Park, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Sarpang Forest Division, and Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary attended the training.

The five-days training ended in Gelephu yesterday.

A similar five-day training on high altitude first aid medical was conducted in Bumthang between October 23 and 27 for forestry officials.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang