Health

‘’I was ready to die – but Rebecca brought the whole world back to me’

Kathy Malcolm and Rebecca OwenBLOGFor Kathy, it seemed like things would never get better again.

She had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her kidney failure, due to diabetes, meant dialysis treatment three times a week. She was slowly going blind. And to cap it all, she could no longer maintain her lovely big home.

The 64-year-old, from Llandudno, recalled: “I was at my lowest point – I was basically ready to die.” More

Ebola virus disease explained: Q&A

©IFRC/IdrissaSoumare

©IFRC/IdrissaSoumare

An outbreak of Ebola has left more than 450 people dead in West Africa. The Red Cross, along with other humanitarian agencies, is working to stop the spread of the deadly and highly contagious disease. 

What is the Ebola virus?

Ebola virus disease is a severe and often fatal illness – outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Outbreaks occur predominately in remote villages in Central and West Africa near tropical rainforests. 

The first incidence of Ebola was in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks: in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo close to the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

The origin of the virus is unknown. This is the first time the disease has appeared in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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Who pays for your wheelchair?

WHHEL_OF_FORTUNE_600x337If you come a cropper and need a wheelchair, your best bet is to either get injured just a little or quite a lot. Confused? You should be.

Here are three interesting health facts you probably don’t know:

1. If you twist your ankle or get a small mobility injury, hospitals in the UK have to provide you with a ‘minor aid’ – such as crutches or a walking frame.

2. If you have a serious illness or injury that will mean long-term use of a wheelchair, hospitals are similarly obliged to provide the equipment. But…

3. If you need a wheelchair for a ‘short-term’ ailment (officially, anything lasting less than six months), then good luck. No official body has any responsibility to help.

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Ebola, snakes and witchcraft: stopping the deadly disease in its tracks

In an effort to curb the spread of Ebola in Guinea, volunteers are managing the dead bodies

©IFRC/IdrissaSoumaré

They call him by his surname, Konneh. His manners are gentle and his voice calm. He’s a volunteer with the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, always willing to help.

The 21-year-old lives in Kenema, one of the largest cities in Sierra Leone. It’s a two-hour drive from his hometown of Daru, in the eastern district of Kailahun, which has been most affected by the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

As of 16 June, there were 92 confirmed cases of Ebola and 44 deaths in Kailahun, according to the World Health Organisation, while several cases have also been confirmed in the west of the country.  

Konneh’s aunt and uncle, from Daru, both died from the disease.  

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Coping as a full-time carer

Angela Brown, who used the Red Cross carers' service, smiles in a garden with a cup of teaDuring Carers’ Week, Angela Brown discusses the challenges of being a carer and explains how her local Red Cross service supported her when she needed it most.

Angela Brown remembers the moment she knew something was wrong. In 2005 she was sitting in the garden with her husband John. He turned to her and asked when his mother was coming home. His mother had been dead for 30 years.

John was soon diagnosed with dementia. More

Home is where the volunteer is

Peter-Toplis-BLOGThousands of people struggle to cope at home each year. But a new report shows how the British Red Cross helps many to move on with their lives.

After a stroke left him housebound and isolated, Peter Toplis was at a real low ebb.

Most of his old friends had moved on over the years, so the 60-year-old was stuck alone most of the time.

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Lending a hand to two independent women

Pauline Yardley takes after her mother. At 77 years of age, she is active, independent and never sits still for long. Her mother, Hilda, led an active life well past her centenary. Pauline was her mum’s full-time carer until she suffered a fall. In this blog, Beth Finch, health and social care coordinator in Leeds, tells how the Red Cross came to help the two independent women.

The Red Cross helped Pauline Yardley after she suffered a fall

The Red Cross helped Pauline Yardley after she suffered a fall

When we were first told about Pauline, we thought it would be a fairly straight forward case. She was struggling at home having just suffered a fall that resulted in a hip fracture. 

What we didn’t know was that Pauline, then aged 75, was an active, full-time carer for her 104-year-old mother. 

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Video: building healthy futures in Sierra Leone

Poor sanitation and a lack of access to clean drinking water mean communities in Sierra Leone are vulnerable to preventable diseases.

Nestled between Guinea and Liberia, the West Africa nation also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world: an estimated one in 23 women will die from pregnancy-related causes.

This video, produced by the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, explains how the Red Cross is working with communities to save lives.


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