Please watch Chris Skopec, International Medical Corps Senior Director of Emergency Response and Preparedness, on CBS’ Face the Nation, talking about the situation on the ground and International Medical Corps’ response: https://youtu.be/onzYJ8ebi9k
Currently more than 2,300 people have been reported killed, according to the BBC, in what’s being called the worst earthquake in Nepal in more than 80 years. Strong aftershocks and quakes are still rocking the country, with a 6.7 magnitude tremor striking 40 miles east of the capital of Kathmandu Sunday morning. The generous support of GlobalGiving donors is critical to providing local communities the assistance they need.
Five-years after the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, International Medical Corps’ teams are still on the ground delivering vital health care and training services to help disaster-affected communities return to self-reliance.
At the peak of International Medical Corps’ emergency response following the earthquake, our volunteer doctors and nurses saw as many as 1,000 patients a day while simultaneously training Haitian counterparts. We were able to mobilize more than 400 medical volunteers across the United States, including emergency room, intensive care, and pediatric doctors and nurses as well as mental health experts and infectious disease specialists. Within two weeks, we had established 13 primary health clinics in displacement camps and earthquake-affected areas throughout Haiti and provided some 350,000 medical consultations.
In keeping with our mission to promote self-reliance through training, over the past five years International Medical Corps has trained Haitian medical and technical professionals in order to build capacity for the long term, and operated vital programs in nutrition, mental health, water, sanitation and hygiene. We also launched a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program in Haiti. In the fall of 2010, we completed our first CME program with the Haitian Medical Association and brought together Haitian physicians to focus on emergency obstetrics as well as medical certification and board accreditation. We also ran an emergency medicine development program at Port-au-Prince's General Hospital (HUEH) that trained more than 300 Haitian physicians and nurses in nearly every component of emergency care delivery. We are currently implementing additional CME courses in Haiti to improve quality of care throughout the existing healthcare infrastructure.
International Medical Corps was one of the very first organizations to respond to an unprecedented cholera outbreak in October 2010 and had medical staff on the ground in Artibonite (where the first cases developed) even before the cause of the outbreak was confirmed to be cholera. We aggressively rolled out a network of cholera treatment centers (CTCs) and mobile medical units in Haiti’s most remote and affected areas to care for tens of thousands of cholera patients. Because cholera was a new disease in Haiti, the majority of the country’s health workers had never seen it before the outbreak. International Medical Corps made sure that the Ministry of Health and local doctors, nurses, and community health workers remained central to our cholera response. We trained and mentored more than 1,200 doctors, nurses, and community health workers so that our network of CTCs were established and staffed largely by local health professionals. We also distributed more than 765,000 hygiene and sanitation materials and educated more than 2 million Haitians on cholera prevention.
According to the ACAPS Global Emergency Overview Snapshot for 17 December 2014 to 6 January 2015, “Over 500,000 people still have no permanent shelter, living in camps with limited access to clean water. The cholera outbreak that began in October 2010 continues to claim lives, particularly of those most vulnerable: children under five, pregnant women, and the elderly. Haiti’s political and economic situation is extremely fragile, and the country is vulnerable to natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, and droughts. Despite a progressive decrease of cholera cases since January, weekly cases have significantly increased since the rainy season mid-September (PAHO, 02/12/2014).”
International Medical Corps’ local teams are continuing to provide critical medical care in Haiti today. We are responding to cholera in the “Grand North” through community outreach and six mobile medical units that are able to reach vulnerable families. International Medical Corps has also responded to localized flooding in the North and continues to monitor humanitarian needs. It is with the generous support of GlobalGiving and other donors that we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable families and communities in Haiti.
Severe flooding in late May and early June 2014 caused thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs), living in 57 settlements across the five zones of Kismayo, Somalia, to seek refuge in Dalxis IDP camp, located on higher ground in the Farjano zone of Kismayo. The local Jubbaland authorities have built 65 latrines in the camp, but access to safe water in the form of shallow wells is still mostly lacking. As many as 60% of households are affected, according to International Medical Corps’ assessment in early December 2014. The few existing nearby wells are not always serviceable or adequately protected, and more reliable water sources are often located 1-2 km away, needing an average of 2-3 hours for the return trip by foot.
International Medical Corps has targeted existing shallow wells for rehabilitation in locations that are safe for women and girls to access. Minimum standards for the rehabilitation of shallow wells as set out by the Somalia water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) cluster , which brings together local and international non-governmental organizations, government departments and UN agencies who are actively involved in the implementation of WASH promotion activities in Somalia, will be closely adhered to. The rehabilitation work will include removal of well debris, repairs of concrete aprons, drainage channels, soakage pits, well linings, and head walls, and shock chlorination of the water.
To serve the maximum number of people, the target wells will either be communal or owned by a group of households. To ensure ongoing oversight for each of these wells, International Medical Corps will establish a community water committee consisting of 8 specially trained men and women. The committees will manage ongoing maintenance, promote sound sanitation and hygiene practices , and engage in community outreach and engagement.
With the generous support of GlobalGiving and other donors, International Medical Corps is able to improve access to safe drinking water with projects such as these for families and communities who have lost their homes because of conflict and natural disasters.