We often tell you about the individual lives our work touches so that you can understand the personal impact your support for International Medical Corps has. But in many ways, the sustainability of our efforts depends on the local health care workers we train. They help connect our critical health services with the people we aim to reach, and ensure that lifesaving skills and knowledge stay in local communities long after we’re gone.
So meet Semira (pictured).
Semira joined International Medical Corps in September 2011 as a Hygiene Promotion Field Officer working in the remote Dolo Ado refugee complex in Ethiopia, home to 10,000 Somali refugees. Here, International Medical Corps provides relief to thousands of refugees impacted by the severe drought that has inflicted wide-spread food insecurity and devastation across east Africa.
In Dolo Ado’s Kobe camp, Semira educates refugees on safe hygiene and sanitation practices to promote optimal health among families living in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Semira’s numerous responsibilities include conducting peer discussions on safe hygiene and sanitation practices at schools; weekly gatherings and focus groups for women; and house-to-house visits. She also organizes monthly jerry can cleaning campaigns at water points to ensure that families are keeping these containers (used to carry drinking water) free of disease-causing germs. To keep her skills up-to-date, Semira regularly participates in International Medical Corps’ monthly refresher training sessions.
Semira is proud of her work and notes that many of the households she has worked with have improved their hygiene and sanitation practices, including hand washing after bathroom use and before food preparation, proper disposal of household waste, and hygienic use of latrines.
Semira says, “I am hopeful that I will build on my community mobilization skills and hygiene and sanitation knowledge through additional capacity-building trainings provided by International Medical Corps…I also plan to go on to further education to gain management skills.”
It’s because of your support that Semira has positively impacted so many people’s lives in Kobe camp—and that she will continue to change lives for the better for many years to come. Thank you!
Four-year-old Mohamed* is the first child with Cerebral Palsy that International Medical Corps worked with in the Libyan city of Sirte. With bright, intelligent eyes, Mohamed was always smiling and laughing. He came to an International Medical Corps-supported rehabilitation center carried by his doting father, but was unable to sit independently and had very little controlled movement in his arms and legs. His parents were doing all they could for him—traveling to the center regularly from his home an hour outside of the desert city—but they needed professional help.
As Libya has moved from conflict to rebuilding, International Medical Corps has transitioned from emergency activities to longer-term programming, such as building the capacity of Libya's rehabilitation sector by training physiotherapists.
For Mohamed, we worked with physiotherapists to identify what he was and wasn’t able to do, and to plan how we could realistically help him most. After realizing that physiotherapy in isolation wasn’t going to be enough for him, we made arrangements with Mohamed's family to visit him at home. There, we showed Mohamed’s family how to stand him using a simple piece of wood and cloth, and how to stretch his limbs comfortably. We built a wedge from pillows so that he could use his hands to play freely and develop neck strength, and showed his family how to adapt a chair so he could sit with his hands free and start to feed himself. Mohamed’s smile and laughter only grew as he learned to grab his toys with both hands.
It’s thanks to your generosity that we were able to help Mohamed—and there are many other children like him that we want to reach. With your support, International Medical Corps has plans for more specialized training with physiotherapists across Libya. We will soon be introducing outreach teams to identify and work with more children in their communities.
So thank you for helping make Mohamed smile!
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of patient under the age of 18.
Following heavy fighting with government forces, a Congolese rebel group has seized control of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in eastern DRC and home to one million people. More than 25,000 people have fled Goma so far, as have 60,000 refugees from a nearby camp—adding to the 1.6 million people already displaced in eastern DRC after 15 years of civil war.
With over 700,000 civilians now at risk from the escalated violence, International Medical Corps is preparing an emergency response and engaging with humanitarian partners on the ground to assess critical needs. Anticipating shortages of essential medicines and supplies, we are also mobilizing resources to get urgent pharmaceutical and medical supplies to where they are needed.
International Medical Corps always does what it takes to reach those most in need, wherever they are. In eastern DRC, we work in some of the most remote and volatile areas, often where the presence of other international organizations is extremely limited or non-existent. We prioritize women and children’s health, as they tend to be most vulnerable—making up 80% of refugees and internally displaced people worldwide.
Further, in a crisis or refugee situation, one in five women of childbearing age is likely to be pregnant, while access to critical health services becomes extremely limited. As a donor to our “Save a Mom’s Life in the Congo” project, we know that women and children’s health is very important to you. Help us make sure that mothers and children in the Congo continue to receive the lifesaving health services they need—even in the midst of conflict—by contributing to our emergency response in DRC. As always, thank you for your invaluable support for the people of DRC and International Medical Corps’ work in this war-torn country.
Learn more about our emergency response in DRC.
International Medical Corps began working in DRC in 1999 and has since served approximately two million people, 80 percent of them displaced by the war. Today, we provide health care, nutrition, food security, sexual violence prevention and treatment, and water and sanitation services.