Conquering World Health Every Day

Editor’s Note: Today, April 7, we celebrate World Health Day, a global health awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). Not only does the Red Cross provide about 40% of the nation’s blood supply, partner with WHO and participate in the worldwide Measles and Rubella Initiative to prevent and control the spread of measles and reduce deaths, but our interests in the realm of world health spread much further and wider, and we do our part right here at home.

By Ryan Wilcox, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

A Red Cross disaster response is an all hands on deck operation. We all have our roles, from Sheltering and Feeding to Health Services.

The Red Cross DFW volunteers in Disaster Health Services are licensed medical professionals who travel to disasters to dispense medication and treat people in need of medical attention. After severe weather, critical medications can get lost along with other valuables.

I’ve taken medication my entire life for one thing or another, and can identify with the stress people feel when the medication is vital to their health.

Our volunteers work to ease this burden by replacing medications, providing referrals to local physicians — even negotiating with insurance companies. The nurses meet with clients at a multi-agency resource center (or MARC). At a MARC, a diverse group of non-profit partners gather to provide resources.


A Proud Nursing Tradition

MIRCM SAFThe Red Cross has a long history of providing medical assistance on the scene of disasters and battlefields. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, provided medical supplies to wounded soldiers in the Civil War. The volunteer nursing tradition continues today with a nationwide network of 20,000 nurses.

The Red Cross DFW is part of the Regional Nurse Network, which recruits and retains qualified nurses for disaster relief assignments.

ERV: Mobile Disaster Response

23407263563_3b7c03be59_oWe also have a mobile volunteer force thanks to a fleet of Emergency Response Vehicles, or ERVs.

The modern ERV was introduced in 1984, and the Red Cross has 320 vehicles in 49 states. This means that every region of the country can be covered by mobile disaster response. In the hours after a weather event, ERVs are stocked with medical supplies, food, water and relief supplies.

This enables our volunteer teams to meet community needs for days at a time.


World Health Day 2016

17210547913_378ce35f8e_oThis year, WHO has made the World Health Day 2016 campaign aimed at beating diabetes. The importance of properly treating illnesses like diabetes can’t be overstated. According to WHO, the disease was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths in 2012. It is projected to be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. The disease is treatable, in spite of these numbers, and its effects can be preventable with a few small lifestyle changes.

The nurses of the Red Cross are working diligently to positively impact the numbers of people affected by diabetes and other health conditions.

How You Can Help

It’s easy to support the nurses of the Red Cross and carry on the legacy of Clara Barton!

1. Volunteer: Are you ready to support the mission of the Red Cross by volunteering your medical expertise? You can find Health Services, or other opportunities, here.

2. Donate: You don’t have to be a medical professional to support Red Cross volunteers in the field. A single donation of blood saves up to three lives. You can learn more about the need for blood, here. You can also make a financial contribution to directly support the American Red Cross and our work in disaster relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-REDCROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999. These donations enable the Red Cross to continue to respond to disasters, large and small, every day and mobilize immediately as needs arise.

We hope you’ll celebrate World Health Day with us, as we aim to make an impact on the issues facing global health, overseas and at home. Happy World Health Day!

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