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.
Mar 3, 2017

Drought in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia

A mother and her family in search of water
A mother and her family in search of water

A third year of drought in the region has left nearly 13 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia food insecure, with crops and livestock decimated and food and water prices rising. An estimated 600,000 children under five will be in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition in the coming year.

Somalia, which has also been ravaged by two decades of conflict, has just declared a state of national emergency. People in northern Somalia are already dying from the drought, and tragically, for many families, it is not the first time they have faced such conditions. Somalia’s 2011 famine killed some 260,000 people, half of whom were children under five, and the current drought has the potential of being the worst in 50 years. The United Nations estimates that more than half the population of Somalia will be in need of humanitarian assistance by June 2017, and more than 270,000 children will be severely malnourished. Thousands of families are on the move in search of food and water, and over the next three months, up to 100,000 Somalis are expected to cross the border into Ethiopia, which is already experiencing its own driest period in decades.

“Half of the population in Somalia—6.2 million people—are in need of assistance,” said Mohamed, International Medical Corps’ Country Director for Somalia. “The drought has wiped out crops and livestock and forced families to sell assets or borrow money to survive. If the response does not scale up, communities in the hardest-hit areas will slide further and further into crisis and people will die—all from causes we could have prevented.”

The government of Kenya has declared the drought a national disaster, with some 2.7 million in need of food aid. Ethiopia and Kenya’s worsening conditions, compounded by the influx of Somali refugees and displacement of people within the countries themselves, are depleting resources and putting a significant strain on existing humanitarian aid. The situation is rapidly deteriorating as food prices are rising, along with livestock deaths and malnutrition rates.

International Medical Corps is now working to meet the rapidly growing and urgent needs of families by scaling up health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene services throughout the region—expanding programs into drought-affected areas to reach those who are most in need.

In Somalia, International Medical Corps continues to support hospitals, health centers and primary health clinics, helping to ensure they have urgently needed supplies, capacity and technical support to respond to this growing crisis. International Medical Corps’ nutrition care centers in the areas of Abudwak and Balambal saw caseloads increase by 127% between September 2016 and January 2017, and we also offer services in the only stabilization center in Somalia. To meet the urgent need for clean and safe water, in January, our teams also trucked 1.6 million litres of water to drought-affected villages in Somalia, benefitting some 19,000 individuals.

In Ethiopia, we are providing nutrition support to some 105,634 malnourished children and 59,420 malnourished pregnant and lactating women. International Medical Corps also launched emergency seed distribution in some of the worst-affected areas in the East Hararghe Zone to ensure that families have access to food. In the Dollo Ado refugee camps, we are reaching the influx of Somali refugees with nutrition services, and, to meet gaps in response to the critical water shortage, we have rehabilitated 107 water points, supporting some 82,700 individuals in the last year.

In Kenya, to prevent and treat malnutrition International Medical Corps is supporting some 450 health facilities in seven counties, where more than 93,000 children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are acutely malnourished. Our work includes strengthening the capacity of the health system to deliver high-quality nutrition services, advocating with the government to increase its commitment to eradicating malnutrition, and educating communities about how malnutrition can be prevented. We are currently training 216 frontline health care workers to manage severe and moderate malnutrition and helping community facilities carry out mass screening campaigns—even in very remote and hard-to-reach areas—to identify cases of malnutrition and connect them to treatment services.

We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your ongoing support as we provide lifesaving services and care during this critical time of need. 

Our teams are checking nutritional status
Our teams are checking nutritional status
We are working to scale care for those in need
We are working to scale care for those in need
Mar 2, 2017

Finding Hope: Teaching Refugee Children about Good Hygiene

Children learning to wash their hands
Children learning to wash their hands

International Medical Corps’ emergency response to the refugee crisis in Europe has now concluded. We partnered with international agencies and local organizations to bring urgent humanitarian relief to refugees and migrants in Greece, Serbia and Croatia. Along with our partners, our teams provided emergency care to 30,171 refugees and migrants as they disembarked on the shores of Lesvos. Some 6,600 patients received health care through our mobile medical units, and 622 people received reproductive health consultations, including antenatal, postnatal and gynecological care, as well as family planning services.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis, please visit our “Support Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan” project at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/support-azraq-refugee-camp/.

 

Finding Hope: Teaching Refugee Children about Good Hygiene

Dayaa left his home in Homs, Syria to escape the horrors of civil war and find a better life in Turkey. When he was unable to find a job, he made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea before settling at the informal camp at Piraeus Port, near Athens. Dayaa noticed that there were dozens of children living in the camp without any access to education or recreational activities. Working with a team of friends, Dayaa gathered 50 children together for English classes. Only a month and half later, the Piraeus Port camp closed, and all the refugees were transferred to other camps, including the Skaramagas Camp, the largest refugee camp on Greece’s mainland.  

Once in Skaramagas Camp, Dayaa and his team founded the Hope School, where refugees volunteer to teach young children, dividing classes by the children’s native tongue—primarily Arabic, Kurdish and Farsi. In the summer of 2016, International Medical Corps began working with Hope School to provide hygiene promotion and training. “We became friends,” Dayaa said. “International Medical Corps is committed to this work.”

International medical Corps has been on the frontlines of the crisis in Syria since it began, working with refugees in neighboring countries and internally displaced men, women and children. Since 2011, more than 4.9 million Syrians have fled their homes to seek refuge in neighboring countries, and more than 1.3 million refugees from Syria—as well as other conflict-ridden places such as Iraq and Afghanistan—traversed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Today, some 62,000 persons of concern remain in Greece.

When the desperate refugees began making the perilous journey across the sea, our teams followed. Since the fall of 2015, we have provided primary and reproductive care, mental health and psychosocial support, gender-based violence prevention and response, and urgently needed relief materials. Our teams also delivered some 67,000 hygiene items, including feminine pads, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, soap, wet wipes and toilet paper, and we educated thousands of men, women, and children on the importance of proper sanitation, such as washing one’s hands with soap. Dimitris, one of our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Officers, explained, “We took into consideration the real needs of the refugees, addressing gaps and conducting activities that met those needs.”

Today, almost 700 children between the ages of five and 13 attend Hope School in Skaramagas Camp. What started as informal English lessons held in a tent now has two classrooms and an office. International Medical Corps educated some 200 children and distributed more than 100 hygiene kits to students. Dimitri said, “My favorite part of my job was when children would tell me they applied what they learned in the hygiene promotion lessons, explaining to their parents when they should wash their hands.”

We would like to thank the GlobalGiving community for your support of International Medical Corps’ work with the refugees and migrants in Greece.

A hand-washing demonstration at Hope School
A hand-washing demonstration at Hope School
Child-friendly latrines at Hope School
Child-friendly latrines at Hope School
Feb 27, 2017

Mental Health in Nepal: One Man's Journey after Losing His Family

Shambu stands in front of his home today
Shambu stands in front of his home today

On April 25th, 2015, Shambu boarded an early morning bus to attend a training in Kathmandu, Nepal. He remembers the moment the ground started shaking, how the bus came to a halt, and how all the passengers were screaming and crying. When the earthquake stopped, he tried to get back to his village, Mulpani, but the destruction made travel almost impossible. Then Shambu received a message from a friend that his home had collapsed and that much of the village was levelled. When he finally made it back home, he saw people crying and digging in the rubble for loved ones. He started to do the same, and with his neighbors, they found the bodies of Shambu’s wife, son, and nephew.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake was one of the strongest to ever strike Nepal, and over 350 aftershocks of 4.0 magnitude or higher continued to rock the country for weeks, including a major 6.3 earthquake on May 12th. Some 8,000,000 people were affected, and 1,147 health facilities were destroyed or damaged. Within hours, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team was on the ground, and in the weeks that followed, we provided 4,547 health consultations. Our mobile medical units traveled by foot, car, donkey and even helicopter to reach 27 remote villages.

The day after the earthquake, Shambu and his neighbors buried his family, along with the 19 other residents lost in the earthquake, and then he started working to help his village recover. Shambu knew first-hand about the struggle with grief and psychological pain following the disaster, so he volunteered as a community psychosocial worker. Along with our implementing partners in Nepal, our teams have provided mental health and psychosocial support services to 2,881 Nepali men and women, and more than 9,300 people participated in psychosocial activities to improve well-being. Our teams also provided 78 health facilities with psychotropic medications and integrated mental health services to help the people of Nepal recover from the long-lasting effects of the earthquake.

Nearly two years since the earthquake, Shambu continues to experience overwhelming feelings of loneliness, and he has nightmares about his wife and son, but his formal training and experience as a community psychosocial worker help him get through the hard times. He has learned valuable coping methods, and he realizes the contributions that he’s making to his community’s recovery.

International Medical Corps would like to thank the GlobalGiving community for your continued support of the people of Nepal.

Practicing relaxation techniques
Practicing relaxation techniques
Shambu training community health volunteers
Shambu training community health volunteers
 
   

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