Oct 20, 2021

Last-Mile Delivery During a Pandemic

A pharmacist takes stock of available medicines
A pharmacist takes stock of available medicines

With the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout underway, International Medical Corps is using our expertise in community health to mount effective vaccination campaigns in the countries where we work. With our decades of experience managing outbreaks of infectious disease—from helping to eradicate wild polio in Africa, to supporting cholera vaccinations in Haiti, to treating malaria in Yemen—we’ve seen how challenging it can be to deliver critical healthcare in remote areas and demanding environments. Here’s a look at what goes into effective last-mile delivery of vaccines and how International Medical Corps is supporting worldwide immunization efforts with staff, training, supplies and education.

The phrase, “last mile,” describes the last leg of any product’s journey to its destination. This final journey could be just a few miles long—from a local warehouse to your front door, for example—or it could extend thousands of miles across challenging terrain. The last mile looks different for every product; when it comes to medication, it can get especially complicated. Many medicines, including vaccines, must be kept at consistent cold temperatures, which is where the concept of “cold chain” comes in.

Cold chain involves the requirement for refrigeration to be constantly maintained from product creation to disbursement. If this chain is broken, and the product’s temperature rises above or falls below what it needs to stay viable, then the product’s shelf life shortens. In the worst cases, the product becomes unusable.

“The cold chain has to be uninterrupted from the day the vaccine is manufactured until it’s administered to a patient,” explains Nikola, Head of Global Procurement at International Medical Corps. “Imagine an invisible rope running all the way from the factory through ports and airports to warehouses, and finally to the patient. That rope cannot be cut anywhere.”

Fortunately, International Medical Corps has supported last-mile delivery of vaccines throughout our 37-year history. Our teams around the world are ready for this challenge.

With the support of GlobalGiving and its community of donors, International Medical Corps’ teams around the world continue to help COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Our team administers a COVID-19 vaccine in Jordan
Our team administers a COVID-19 vaccine in Jordan
Oct 13, 2021

Final Report on the Lebanon Explosion Response

A patient seeing our team for healthcare
A patient seeing our team for healthcare

This will be our final update as International Medical Corps’ emergency response to the Beirut, Lebanon explosion has drawn to a close.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps, please visit our “Addressing Humanitarian Needs in Lebanon” project to learn about our response.

Learn more about our response here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/addressing-humanitarian-needs-in-lebanon/ 

Over one year ago, on August 4, 2020, a massive explosion ripped through Beirut, Lebanon—so powerful that it registered as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake. International Medical Corps’ team based in Lebanon mobilized quickly in the aftermath of the blast reaching more than 54,300 women, men and children in the first two weeks with personal protective equipment (PPE), psychological first aid, hygiene kits and more.

“I’ve lived in the city for the past 10 years. This is my first emergency that I am responding to as a resident,” says Rima, International Medical Corps’ Communications Manager in Lebanon.  “Thankfully, my family and I were all okay; however, thousands of other were not,” explained Rima.

With more than one-third of health facilities damaged, those that remained open were overwhelmed by patients affected by the blast and COVID-19. Medical storage facilities sustained damage, causing shortages of vital medicines and supplies. Our team provided more than 500,000 health consultations, supported 87 health facilities with medical supplies and PPE, rehabilitated three primary healthcare centers and more.

Mental health is also a concern after a traumatic event. Common mental health conditions include physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral reactions. Longer-term effects may include depression, severe anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. In response, our team provided more than 10,000 mental health consultations, trained 191 frontline workers to provide psychosocial support and basic care, provided more than 2,500 psychological first aid sessions and more following the blast.

Mental health services helped people like Aurore. “We could not find my mom at first; then we found her under the couch, speechless and unable to move. My mother was not only in physical pain, but also emotional pain because of what happened,” recounts Aurore. International Medical Corps provided mental health and psychosocial support for both Aurore and her mother, and thousands of others impacted by the Beirut blast.

Although International Medical Corps’ response to the Beirut explosion has ended, our team continues to address humanitarian needs throughout Lebanon.

International Medical Corps thanks the GlobalGiving community of donors for supporting our relief and recovery efforts following the devastating Beirut blast. 

Our team providing psychological first aid
Our team providing psychological first aid
Sep 15, 2021

Final Report on Addressing Emergency Needs in Gaza

Our Mobile Medical Team in Gaza treats a patient
Our Mobile Medical Team in Gaza treats a patient

This will be our final update as International Medical Corps’ emergency response in Gaza draws to a close.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps, please visit our “Emergency Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)” project to learn about our global response to the pandemic.

Learn more about our Coronavirus response here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-the-coronavirus-2019-ncov/  

Gaza’s tense political and security environment has seen periods of sporadic violence and conflict including three wars between 2008 and 2014. The destruction of critical infrastructure and a deteriorating socio-economic situation has led to a protracted humanitarian crisis. InMay 2021, Gaza faced one of the worst escalations of violence since the war in 2014, which brought widespread devastation to an already impoverished territory and resulted in 267 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries.

Prior to this recent escalation, the health sector in Gaza was already over-burdened when the COVID-19 outbreak further exacerbated the already fragile system. Adding to the challenges facing Gaza’s healthcare system, the conflict damaged many hospitals and clinics and severely affected essential infrastructure like roads and electricity networks limiting public access to basic services across Gaza.

As part of our response to the needs in Gaza, International Medical Corps, with local partners, operates mobile medical teams (MMT) that provide essential primary healthcare services and consultations for communities with compromised access to care. During regular visits to these communities, the MMTs have served more than 8,300 individuals, especially women, children, older people and people with disabilities since January 2021. The MMTs have identified many undiagnosed cases of diabetes mellitus among adults and children and undiagnosed hypertension among men and women, providing them with the needed care in addition to nutrition counseling and further referrals when necessary.

Additionally, the MMTs treat common communicable diseases among adults and children. For example, a 30-year-old woman, her husband and their five children had been suffering from pin worms for a long-time. She told MMT members that previously she had not been seeking medical care for her family because they could not afford the medication. However, after hearing about the MMTs from her neighbor and easily accessing their services, her family has been able to receive treatment and heal successfully. She stated, “I really hope that MMTs continue in our community, particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic, as they facilitate access to safe, high-quality health services. I appreciate International Medical Corps and Caritas for their efforts and respectful behavior.”

Additionally, our team has supported the mental health needs of the conflict-affected population with psychological first aid, psychosocial support consultations and group awareness sessions; screened more than 2,000 children for malnutrition and anemia; distributed medicines, supplies and personal protective equipment; and more.

International Medical Corps is grateful to GlobalGiving and its community of donors for raising awareness of our response efforts to the conflict in Gaza.

Our team distributed supplies to health facilities
Our team distributed supplies to health facilities
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