The IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) Program

The IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) program is a collaborative initiative between Rotary clubs in Cherkasy, Ukraine, and Santa Rosa, USA. Launched in March 2022 in response to the extensive Russian invasion and ensuing conflict across Ukraine, the program focuses on the production and assembly of first aid kits to address the urgent medical needs arising from the crisis.

Initiation and Local Efforts:

  • The program began with members of Rotary Club “Cherkasy-Center” taking the lead in crafting and assembling the initial batches of first aid kits.
  • A dedicated workspace was established in Cherkasy, and all club members actively participated in the production process.

Collaborative Partnership:

  • Establishing a partnership between Rotary clubs in Santa Rosa and Cherkasy proved pivotal. This collaboration allowed for significant enhancements to the program and raised the quality of the first aid kits to a commendable level.
  • The joint efforts led to the development of two types of tourniquets (NATO and SAT) and the creation of comprehensive kits.

International Support:

  • Assistance from Rotary Club members in Santa Rosa, particularly through the efforts of Leonid Lashchenko and future club member Curtis Groninga, played a crucial role.
  • Financial support and sponsorship from the David and Katya Chen family facilitated the acquisition of essential medical materials from Croatia, expediting the assembly process.

Fundraising and Community Involvement:

  • To fund the IFAK program, a charitable auction titled “Соняшник (Dormouse)” featuring children’s artworks was organized. This initiative engaged children from both Ukraine and the USA, along with professional artists.
  • The success of this fundraising event significantly contributed to the program’s financial resources.

Production Optimization and Quality Enhancement:

  • The manufacturing process is continuously refined, resulting in the development of a new kit design that included two SAT tourniquets, a new pouch, hemostatic bandages, Israeli bandages, and other essential items for trauma care and injury management.
  • Additional enhancements, such as water purification pills, further fortified the utility of the first aid kits.

Distribution and Training:

  • The produced and assembled first aid kits, totaling over 3200 units by the summer of 2022, were distributed to military and civilian units.
  • Prior to distribution, recipients underwent training in tactical medicine and first aid to ensure effective utilization.

Impact and Recognition:

  • Various organizations, including border services, military sappers, police, and emergency services, received and benefited from the IFAKs.
  • Recognition and positive feedback from medical professionals and military personnel underscored the program’s success.

Community Outreach:

  • The program extended its impact to schools by developing specialized kits for bomb shelters, accompanied by practical seminars for educational staff.
  • Rotary clubs in cities experiencing intense conflicts were strategically engaged to expedite the distribution of first aid kits.

Results and Acknowledgments:

The IFAK program stands as a testament to the power of international collaboration, community support, and Rotary's commitment to providing critical aid in times of crisis. The initiative not only addressed immediate medical needs but also fostered resilience and unity in the face of adversity.