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Ebola: Prevention is possible but people are dying alone

Wednesday 22 October 2014 by Nina Caplan

When you listen to the experts, Ebola is both scarier and less scary than it initially appears. It’s less scary because soap and chlorine can kill it, and the proper infrastructure and adequate information can protect against it. It’s terrifying, because thousands without those simple advantages are dying, in terrible pain, of a disease that is highly infectious and has neither vaccine nor antidote.
“The biggest outbreak before this was around 500,” says Dr Louisa Baxter, fresh back from supporting our work in Sierra Leone and Liberia. (Well, not absolutely fresh: when she came into the London office she hastened to reassure us that she was through her 21-day quarantine period.) “Now it’s about 8,000 – and that’s probably a gross underestimate.
“Every case leads to another 1.5 or 2.5 cases. Which means the numbers are doubling or tripling every few weeks.”
But these are not just numbers – each is a person, isolated at the most vulnerable time of their lives. “People are dying alone,” says Baxter. “Can you imagine anything more distressing?”

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UK: Helping families through the toughest times

Tuesday 21 October 2014 by Voices from the Field

More than one in four children in the UK lives in poverty and the situation is getting worse.Too many families lack basic household items such as a cooker to make a nutritious hot meal, a bed for a good night’s sleep or books and toys so children can play and learn at home. That’s why Save the Children runs the Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play! programme. We provide families in crisis with the basic household items that most of take for granted, and that are crucial for any household where children are growing up.

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Who’ll be poor in 2030? New calculations from the World Bank

Friday 17 October 2014 by Jose Manuel Roche

New income poverty projections from the World Bank were launched last week, along with some interesting stats on its two goals – eradicating extreme poverty and shared prosperity. Here are the top headlines.

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Guatemala: It’s World Food Day but people here are starving

Thursday 16 October 2014 by Dorothy Sang

The world produces enough food for everyone – but not everyone has enough food. We all understand the unfairness of starvation in a well-fed world. Yet still it happens.
I’m currently in Chiquimula, Guatemala, which sits along the ‘dry corridor’ – an area that is, as the name suggests, harsh and dry, and which stretches across Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

This year, it’s even harsher and drier than usual: ECHO is calling it the worst drought in 40 years, affecting nearly 2 million people.

In Guatemala alone, the drought has decimated bean and corn crops and as a result, half a million children are in danger of going hungry . And to make matters worse, the coffee crops their parents depend on for a livelihood have been destroyed by a plague of coffee rust, so the farmers are no longer hiring.

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Guinea: Global Handwashing Day, we ask why aren’t people here washing their hands?

Wednesday 15 October 2014 by Voices from the field - Africa

A little over a week ago I arrived in Guinea to help assess Save the Children’s response to Ebola and establish how we could do more. I was excited but nervous as I disembarked the plane, eyeing passengers cautiously for signs of sickness or fever.

I had resolved to touch nothing and nobody. I didn’t realise then how tough that would be.

After all the media pictures of fully covered and masked personnel, arriving into Guinea’s capital, Conakry, is underwhelming.

Apart from the empty flight (a clear giveaway that something is up with your destination) and a few posters on arrival, it would appear that here in Guinea it is business as usual.

Yet Conakry was the first major city to see cases of Ebola. I can’t get over the absence of any sense of emergency. It feels as though Ebola were “somewhere else” – not here at all.

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Central African Republic: amid conflict we can still help change children’s futures

Friday 10 October 2014 by Daisy Baldwin

Marlene* works as a supervisor in a Child Friendly Space run by Save the Children, inside the camp for displaced people at Bangui Airport.

She studied sociology and anthropology at university and had worked in child protection with Caritas, another NGO, before coming to Save the Children in October 2013.
She has always loved her job.

But in December, after fighting broke out in Bangui, she temporarily found herself in the same position as some of the families she usually helps.

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Money with a mission: life-saving vaccines for every child

Thursday 9 October 2014 by Simon Wright

Vaccination is one of the simplest, cheapest and most cost-effective health services. In low-income countries, it can make the difference between a child living and dying, between a healthy life or illness and disability. That’s why Save the Children is backing Gavi, an alliance of agencies supporting the world’s poorest countries to increase immunisation, which is now trying to raise funds for its next period of operation.

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Ethiopia: “For children, the red t-shirt means safety”

Thursday 9 October 2014 by Sayyeda Salam

I always feel proud to work for Save the Children but never more so than today, visiting Tierkidi refugee camp in Ethiopia, which is sheltering 50,000 South Sudanese refugees.

I asked my colleagues what our red Save the Children t-shirts mean to people. “For children,” they replied, “the red t-shirt means safety”.

For a brief time, I lost my guests – including HRH the Princess Royal, President of Save the Children – as a wave of hundreds of schoolchildren left their classrooms.

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Ethiopia: anniversaries and milestones

Thursday 9 October 2014 by Sayyeda Salam

The recent visit of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, who is also President of Save the Children, to Ethiopia marked an anniversary of sorts: Her Royal Highness first came to the country forty years ago, in 1974.

Thankfully, a great deal has changed for the better in that time, although there is still a way to go. Child and maternal deaths have dropped drastically.

The numbers are impressive – but it’s the individual stories that really gladden the heart.

Most significant for me was meeting a healthy, happy little boy, Gutema, on his second birthday.

Without the help of Save the Children he would have died four months ago.

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Liberia: We need an unprecedented global effort to beat the Ebola menace

Wednesday 8 October 2014 by Robbie McIntyre

All this means that Jennifer* is comparatively fortunate. She is living under quarantine with her aunt, her two brothers Robin*, 6, and Luke*, 12, and her 13-year-old sister Sarah*. Their mother became sick a little over a month ago, and died on 7 September. Just two weeks later, their father died in the same facility. It was only at this point that the children were placed under quarantine with their aunt as a result.

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