Category: Health

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

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