Category: Health

Finding freedom: Unique support groups help people live with HIV and TB

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A group of men, women and children sit around a table

© Matthew Percival/BRC

On World AIDS Day, see how people living with HIV overcome discrimination and a host of other challenges.

Thousands of people in Kazakhstan are living with HIV and TB. Myths and and stigma about the illnesses can leave them cut off from society. They face discrimination at work, in hospitals and from their neighbours and even families. For many people, just finding a sympathetic ear can seem impossible.

But at support groups run by the Kazakhstan Red Crescent, with backing from the British Red Cross, they come together to relax, laugh and swap ideas and experiences. More

Ebola: dignity in death

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The Ebola outbreak has dramatically changed funerals in affected parts of West Africa.

Mourners have been replaced by Red Cross burial teams, sealed in sweltering protective suits.

Rituals such as washing the bodies of loved ones before the burial have been abandoned. They are simply too dangerous, as the disease is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. This risk remains even after the person has died.

Since the outbreak began in March, Red Cross teams working across Ebola-hit areas have given more than 5,400 people safe, dignified burials. It’s not an easy task, as these photos of teams in action in Liberia show.
A crowd watches as a body on a stretcher is carried from a house
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Ebola outbreak: “I’m good, don’t worry about me”

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©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Sylla Fatoumata’s mobile phone vibrates every few minutes, making the table between us wobble.

Occasionally she glances at the screen and smiles. “My boys,” she tells me, shaking her head and laughing. “They contact me every day to see how I am.”

But Sylla is not a mother. The 28-year-old is the youngest of three sisters and, when the Ebola virus disease crept into Guinea’s capital Conakry, in March, she became the Red Cross focal point for safe and dignified burials in the city.

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Red Cross Ebola nurse: ‘I’m no hero, I’m just doing my job’

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©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Tackling Ebola on the front line is an emotional experience, but I’m glad I’m here, writes British Red Cross nurse Marjorie Lee.

Am I a hero? Not for one minute. I’m just somebody helping somebody else. And people here in Sierra Leone, as in Guinea and Liberia, need our help.

I arrived two weeks ago. The first thing that strikes you is how incredibly friendly people are. Everyone you pass says “hello” or “how are you?”

The manager of our hotel in Freetown kept thanking me for coming. He hasn’t left the hotel compound in weeks, he’s too afraid to go out. He sends people out on errands to get him things.

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Ebola outbreak: reporting from Sierra Leone

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©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Ebola leaves a lasting impression on everyone who encounters it. Here John Templeton, a freelance cameraman with Channel 4 News, recounts his recent experience of filming a series of reports featuring Red Cross teams in Sierra Leone (scroll down to watch the reports).   

Working as a freelance television cameraman means a phone call from a client can quickly lead to getting off a plane somewhere most people would do their utmost to avoid.

Wars, natural disasters and civil disturbances have their own rules of behaviour you must follow if you’re going to do your job well and leave unscathed. It’s usually expensive and difficult to cover such stories, so you had better do justice to the story.

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Wheelchairs of World War One: the untold story

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Wheelchair-WW1-amputee-BLOGYears before the NHS even existed, the British Red Cross was providing mobility aids and prosthetic limbs to injured soldiers. As our service celebrates its 100th anniversary, a new documentary explores the harrowing stories of the first people we helped.

If you’re free this Sunday evening, here’s an idea.

Grab a drink, park yourself on the sofa and check out Secret History: World War One’s Forgotten Heroes on Channel 4 (7-8pm).

This fascinating programme looks at the heart-rending experiences of almost two million British soldiers who suffered life-changing injuries and disabilities during the First World War. More

Five steps to stop Ebola – in pictures

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©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed nearly 5,000 lives since March. The Red Cross has been tackling the outbreak since the outset.

These striking images from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, show Red Cross workers on the ground fighting the disease and the people they are trying to help.

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The A&E team: always on call

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Swansea-A&E-BLOG

Smiles ahead: Roxane Dacey, staff nurse Corrina Newman and Zaneta Podgorska.

Our crack team is easing the pressure on over-worked staff at a busy hospital, while ensuring patients get the individual attention they deserve.

It’s no secret that life is incredibly busy at an accident and emergency (A&E) department.

British hospitals are famously struggling to cope with ever-rising numbers of patients, and A&E departments are typically in the eye of the storm.

But now doctors and nurses at one Swansea hospital are breathing a little easier, after the British Red Cross set up a support service right in the heart of the building. More