Category: Health

Ebola myths put lives in danger

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IMG_2280Internet rumours claim the Red Cross is deliberately giving Ebola to people in West Africa. This is not true.

Every day, Red Cross staff and volunteers – most of whom are from the countries affected by the outbreak – risk their lives to help prevent the spread of the disease. Their only focus is fighting a virus that has caused thousands of deaths and placed many more people in danger. More

Surviving Ebola: Red Cross discharges first two patients from Sierra Leone treatment centre

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Osman and Kadiatu, pictured centre, holding their discharge papers

When the Red Cross opened a treatment centre recently in Sierra Leone, Osman Sesay was the second confirmed Ebola patient to arrive.

When he crossed the threshold of the Kenema centre, he was listless and lethargic, with the glazed-over look of someone infected with the deadly disease.

Over the course of the past two weeks, Osman watched 11 fellow patients being taken for burial in the newly-dug cemetery, while he continued to grow stronger. He interacted with staff more, he moved more, he began asking for more food.

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Nepal’s solar-powered blood bank will save lives after deadly earthquakes

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©NRCS

©NRCS

How will a ground-breaking blood bank, made from shipping containers and using solar panels, save lives after earthquakes in Nepal?

Nepal’s capital Kathmandu is at high risk of being devastated by a major earthquake. Such a disaster could injure more than 300,000 people, and leave more than a million homeless.

This year the Nepalese Red Cross Society is building an innovative new blood bank with help from the British Red Cross, as part of a huge project helping the city and its people prepare for earthquakes. It will collect and store blood from the day it opens, ensuring a supply is available the second a disaster happens. More

West Africa Ebola outbreak: new health centre in pictures

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A new Ebola treatment centre has been opened by the Red Cross in one of the worst affected areas in Sierra Leone.

The centre, on the outskirts of Kenema city, received its first patients within hours of opening on 15 September. Among them was an 11-year-old girl.

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Ebola: the data behind the disease

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Ebola-nurse-blog-IIIThe Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 2,400 lives across West Africa since it began in March.

One particularly striking fact is that nearly half (47 per cent) of the 4,963 cases across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, have come in the three weeks before 13 September, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It’s a clear sign that the outbreak is getting worse. Aid agencies, including the Red Cross, are stretched to the limit and desperately need more support.

In this blog, we take a look at the data behind the disease to see how Ebola has hit countries in West Africa.*

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Ebola outbreak: ‘If we don’t help, who will?’

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Ebola-nurse-blogIf I am honest, I have stopped looking at the tallies of the dead. Numbers don’t show you what Ebola is really doing to these communities.

But I see the fear and misinformation it spreads. The orphans it leaves in its wake. The 120 health workers who have died while trying to help patients, in countries that already have some of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the world.

When I first arrived in Sierra Leone six weeks ago, I travelled with the local Red Cross to the infection ‘hot zone’ near the Guinea and Liberia borders.

The volunteers were tired but motivated. Someone asked them: “Why volunteer to manage dead bodies?” A volunteer quickly answered: “If we don’t do it, who will?”

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Fifth country hit by Ebola outbreak

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EBOLAFive months after the Ebola outbreak began in south-east Guinea, the virulent disease has now spread to five West-African nations.

Despite closing its borders with neighbouring Guinea, Senegal confirmed its first case last week.

Time is of the essence to save lives, but the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has only 62 per cent of the necessary funds in place to fight the epidemic.

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Clean water boosts health in Zimbabwe

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a child drinks from a mug

© Tatu Blomqvist/IFRC

In Zimbabwe, dirty water and poor hygiene knowledge put communities at risk of fatal diseases such as cholera. Young children are among the most vulnerable.

But in the province of Masvingo, a project run by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society is helping keep people safe and healthy. It is installing or fixing 400 public water pumps, and setting up committees to help local people manage and maintain them.

The four-year project, which is supported by the British Red Cross, is also set to give 36,000 people access to latrines and 100,000 people vital hygiene information. This will encourage handwashing and other behaviour that prevents the spread of diseases. More