Category: Health

Happy birthday Nishan: one family’s story of courage and strength in Nepal

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Dolma holds Nishan next to a neighbour carrying hay on her head

Little Nishan is nearly ready to walk. “Then our lives will become even more hectic,” his mother Dolma says, with a smile.

Laughing together, Dolma and Nishan seem like any happy mother and baby. But standing with Dolma in the ruins of the family home, Nishan can’t know the danger he has been in during his short life.

This time last year, Dolma was only ten days away from giving birth.

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The Kenyan village where children are teaching adults

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Tebeswet-school.Sharon

When it comes to education, it’s usually the role of the parents to encourage and inspire their children to learn.

Not so for Magdalene Langat. The gregarious mother-of-three isn’t shy in admitting that it’s her children who are inspiring her to learn.

“I’m studying maths and Kiswahili,” said Magdalene, with a proud smile etched across her face.

“I wanted to enrol for adult education as I’ve seen how well my kids have been doing at school.”

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Talking toilets over tea in Kenya

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Kenya Clean Start Appeal

“We would get sick all the time, but we didn’t know what was making us sick.” Edna Mastamet is sat cradling her grandchild in her small mud house in western Kenya.

The 53-year-old shakes her head as she recounts how bad conditions used to be in her rural village.

“It was so dirty, people would just defecate anywhere they could,” she explained, pointing towards a nearby road that doubled up as a toilet.

“No one had toilets, there were a few makeshift structures, but nothing proper.”

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Clean water and toilets – it’s child’s play in Kenya

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Clean water and toilets KenyaClean water and toilets can make a world of difference, just ask the teachers and children at Kimangora Primary School in Kenya.

Since the school got new toilets and clean water in September last year, the diseases that hampered pupils’ health and education are becoming a thing of the past.

“We used to have a fluctuation in attendance,” said Solomon Chepkwony, a teacher at the Bomet County school.

“We had pupils who would be here for one school term, and then not show for the second. That was because of ill health and poor facilities.

“We only had two toilets that were being shared by more than 60 pupils and staff. The toilets were terrible because they were being used by so many people. They would become very dirty and smelly.

“Instead of using them, children would defecate outside.”

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Ebola, midges and me: Scotland’s nurse who loves a challenge

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Marjorie Lee at the end of the West Highland Way that she trekked to raise money for British Red CrossMarjorie has tackled challenges that many of us can only imagine. Less than a year ago, her working day was more extreme than most. Yes, she was a nurse. Yes, she treated patients. But she did it all in our Ebola treatment centre.

Now she’s back home – and looking for new ways to help. Even if it means taking on Scotland’s midges … More

From hospital to home sweet home

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Kathleen and Derek Parsons sat down in their home

Kathleen and Derek Parsons

A bad fall is enough to leave anyone feeling vulnerable and shaken. The British Red Cross can’t catch you as you fall – unless one of our staff or volunteers just happens to be at the right place at the right time! But we can help you pick up the pieces afterwards.

When Derek Parsons stumbled in his garden, he smashed his glasses, broke his hearing aid and ended up with a bleeding cut around his left eye.

Without his ‘eyes and ears’, the 83-year-old was understandably shaken. His wife and son gave him comfort as he waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Later at Poole hospital in Dorset, Derek ended up needing 15 stitches and was kept in overnight. Fortunately he hadn’t broken his eye socket as feared, so was free to go home the next day.

Except Derek had no way of getting home. His wife Kathleen doesn’t drive and his adult sons were either tied up at work or looking after children.

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Zika virus explained

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Red Cross volunteers in Colombia talk to a group of localsThe Zika virus is carried by mosquitoes and it is spreading through the Americas. Cases have also been confirmed in several Asian countries.

It is suspected that the virus is the cause of birth defects, such as microcephaly, which results in babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is worried that the virus is spreading far and fast. It has declared a global public health emergency. 

Here is everything you need to know about this health crisis. More