Category: Health

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

Yemen: Where you dodge airstrikes and snipers on the way to hospital

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Two men carrying another man on a hospital stretcher

© ICRC

Sick and wounded people in the city of Taiz are facing a terrible reality – that their trip to hospital might kill them.

The few hospitals still open in the conflict-hit city are treating many injured people. But the streets are being hit by shells so travelling to hospital is dangerous. And it’s not just the patients who are suffering – medical workers are coming under attack.

Red Cross spokesman Kedir Awol Omar  said: “During the past two weeks, paramedics have had to put themselves in harm’s way, working their way through heavy ground fighting, airstrikes and snipers to reach the wounded. This is unacceptable.” More

Truckers lives transformed by health advice

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A man in a leather jacket

Aziz Yadygarov. ©Matt Percival/BRC

Four or five times a month, truck driver Aziz Yadygarov makes the long journey between the cities of Dashoguz and Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. The 1,000km round trip through the barren Karakum Desert takes 16 hours.

It’s a tough life, and Aziz says many drivers turn to alcohol and drugs. As well as causing family breakdowns, drivers’ lifestyles can put them at risk of illnesses including HIV – through unprotected sex or sharing needles.

That’s why the Red Crescent Society of Turkmenistan is helping truck drivers get the knowledge to protect themselves.

Now Aziz and his friends are spreading the word themselves, helping other drivers stay healthy. More

How John got his mojo back…

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John-Roy-hairdresser-BLOGAfter a career spent hob-nobbing with movie stars, John found himself widowed and losing a leg in quick succession. It was a really low time – but we helped raise his spirits.

John Roy had one of those jobs.

As a props lorry driver for international blockbusters – such as Batman, the James Bond movies and The Da Vinci Code – he travelled the world. It was an adventurous and exciting life.

But then, in the space of just a few years, he was hit by a cruel double blow. More

Pictures and play help Nepal’s children find their voice

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©Eliza Cheung/IFRC

©Eliza Cheung/IFRC

Three months after the Nepal earthquake, the Red Cross is helping traumatised children rebuild their lives.

In a health centre in Nepal, Eliza Cheung leafs through page after page of drawings. They are of all the same subject; a detailed Buddha. Sketches in crayon, pen and pencil.

The mother of the 12-year-old boy who created them died in April’s earthquake. Now the boy’s father has abandoned him.

The boy was brought to a health clinic in the village of Melamchi and eventually to Eliza, a Red Cross clinical psychologist.

“I’m not quite sure what it means yet, but [his drawings] really touch me,” Eliza says. “This is not a simple picture. I think he is trying to find ways to remember his mother. It is quite a traumatic experience for someone so young to go through.” More

Video: ‘Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside’

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Brighton-promenadeGrannies splashing in the sea? Eighty-year-olds on helter skelters? Welcome to a day at the seaside with the British Red Cross – Sixties style!

This’ll gladden your heart and warm your cockles – it’s a lovely film showing a Red Cross trip to Brighton 50 years ago (full video below).

Brighton-telescopeBack in 1965, our volunteers took a group of older women, many of whom lived alone and didn’t get out much, for a day trip to the coast. It was a highlight of their year.

You can see the happiness etched on their faces. As the narrator says: “One of [the ladies] said she couldn’t sleep for thinking of it.” More