International Medical Corps

International Medical Corps is a global humanitarian nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through healthcare training, disaster relief, and long-term development programs.
Sep 7, 2012

Keeping Her Children Healthy: Halimo's Story

Refugees wait to clean jerry cans.
Refugees wait to clean jerry cans.

Halimo cares for her four young children alone, since her husband died in the brutal conflict that still rages in her native Somalia. In 2011 she fled drought and violence, making the 8-day journey by truck to Boqolmayo refugee camp in Ethiopia.

Once at the camp, Halimo was deeply concerned that she needed to repeatedly take her children to the medical clinic for treatment, as they were constantly falling ill and suffering from malnutrition.

Boqolmayo camp was built to accommodate 20,000 refugees, yet today nearly 40,000 people live there, placing a massive strain on the water supply and sanitation services in the camp. Diseases related to inadequate water and poor sanitation and hygiene practices such as skin diseases, eye infections, diarrhea and intestinal worms are a frequent feature of life in the camp.

This March we began a campaign to improve the hygiene and sanitation infrastructure at the camp.  Before meeting with one of our Community Hygiene Promoters (CHP), Halimo had been fetching water using an old and dirty jerry can. She had no idea that this could be linked to the recurring bouts of diarrhea that her children had been suffering.

The CHPs taught Halimo about proper hygiene and sanitation practices, including hand washing at critical times, proper utilization of latrines, safe solid and liquid waste disposal, and proper storage and handling of water. Afterwards, Halimo began to attend our awareness-raising tea talks. For the last three months, she has been cleaning her compound, washing her and her children’s hands using soap and cleaning her jerry cans every other day.

“My children are healthy and growing well, and my first child is now in school!” says Halimo.

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Sep 7, 2012

Uniting Evacuee Communities in Fukushima

A Taiko drum team performs for evacuees.
A Taiko drum team performs for evacuees.

As part of our work to address the long-term needs of earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, we’re supporting seven community spaces in temporary housing sites in Minami-Soma City and two community spaces in shopping malls in Iwaki City. 

With the help of one of our local partners, Shapla Neer, one of the spaces we're supporting is called Buratto, which roughly translates into "swinging by".  The community space is open six days a week in a shopping mall that is easily accessible to those living in the neighborhood.  It offers a kids’ corner, a safe alternative for parents who feel uncomfortable letting their children play outside due to concerns about radiation exposure in Fukushima.  

These community spaces are bringing together host and evacuee communities to support each other through the rebuilding process.  We’re able to provide these safe spaces for survivors because of your support.  On behalf of all of us at International Medical Corps, thank you!

Wanage is a popular pastime among evacuees.
Wanage is a popular pastime among evacuees.
Handicrafts made by evacuees.
Handicrafts made by evacuees.

Links:

Sep 4, 2012

Delivering Twins Safely in the Congo

Adeline
Adeline's healthy baby boys.

 

Adeline was panicked.  The 22-year-old was in intense pain and bleeding after being in labor with twins for hours.  She arrived at Therese’s home, one of International Medical Corps’ trained birth attendants, at 2am.  Therese quickly assessed her condition and realized the babies were in the breech position, which could cause brain damage or death for the newborns.  

Therese advised Adeline’s family to take her immediately to the emergency obstetric facility in Biruwe Town for advanced care. Unfortunately, Adeline’s relatives didn’t have enough money to pay for transport to the health center which is located almost 20 miles away. Therese contacted Tresor, the Village Health Committee Coordinator, who was able to get four neighbors to take Adeline to the health center on an improvised stretcher down the bumpy road to Biruwe.

Once they arrived at the emergency facility, Esperance, a midwife trained in Emergency Obstetric Care by International Medical Corps, helped Adeline successfully deliver two healthy baby boys.

As a result of their newly-acquired skills and with critical help from the Village Health Committee, Esperance and Therese saved three lives in a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

Over the last year, we’ve trained 146 Trained Birth Attendants in the North Kivu region of Congo.  These trained health workers provide pregnant women and newborns within their own communities with the critical care they need. 

We’re able to train men and women like Esperance and Therese because of supporters like you.  Thank you for your generosity! 

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