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At the British Red Cross we believe that every crisis is personal.
A crisis can be a catastrophic event like the recent typhoon in the Philippines, which destroyed livelihoods and buildings.
Or it can be much smaller – like a woman stranded at home because she doesn’t have the confidence to get out and about after an illness.
From horse-drawn wagons to first aid motorbikes, the British Red Cross has embraced every innovation in emergency transport over the last 150 years.
Original ambulances run on horse-power
The first British Red Cross ambulances were used in 1870, during the Franco-Prussian war, just two months after the organisation was founded. The wooden horse-drawn wagons could carry up to six casualties at a time.
Assistant surgeon G.W. McNalty reported that: “The traction appeared to be excellent and the wounded who were carried declared that they found the motion very easy, but when the wagon only contained one or two persons there was too much spring in it.”
Put yourself in Elizabeth’s* shoes.
You are an elderly pensioner. You were mugged recently and broke your shoulder. You’re just now being discharged from hospital. You still feel a bit shaky, if you’re honest. You’re going back to an empty house. You have no family living nearby. There’s no fresh milk in the fridge. You’re a bit nervous about the journey home.
In such a case, it’s likely you’d also be pleased to see Francesca Dawkes.
Ea Suzanne Akasha is based in Lebanon. Here she describes her work with young refugees as a Red Cross psychosocial delegate.
“I got out of the car and stood for some moments, to look back at my once beautiful and now destroyed city,” says Tamara, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee, describing the moment when she had to flee her home town. More
As part of a national campaign, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is vaccinating children in areas of Syria that the government cannot access. Red Crescent volunteers have been immunising children up to five years old against polio, mumps, measles and rubella.
Al-Adliah collective school provides shelter for 30 families and 136 people in rural Damascus, Syria. Each classroom houses at least one family, and there is no furniture apart from old carpets on the floor and mattresses piled by the walls. Some rooms are turned into kitchens, with simple cookers on the floor. As a result of the poor conditions, many people face health problems.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent has a mobile health unit that visits the school. Dr. Tarek Tanirah, from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, explains: “Mobile health units cover the areas where health services do not exist at all. We provide a wide range of health care, but also medication for chronic illnesses.
“Seventy per cent of the patients are children, most of them with respiratory illnesses. Many of the adult patients suffer from orthopaedic and neurological diseases and arthritis. Many of the female patients have gynaecological problems. Also, lice and scabies are often a problem in the crowded shelter.”
Difficult to diagnose, fast-acting and it can kill in hours – that’s why we should all know more about this deadly condition.
The easy part is defining meningitis.
In simple terms, it occurs when the protective covering around the brain and spinal cord becomes inflamed. The real difficulties come when you start trying to recognise the symptoms.
The big problem with meningitis is that it can kill people, quickly, and yet in its early stages mimics much milder illnesses. Initial symptoms often include such standard complaints as headache, high temperature and vomiting.