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.
Aug 12, 2016

Final Report and Update on Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador

Teams helped prevent an outbreak of disease
Teams helped prevent an outbreak of disease

International Medical Corps’ earthquake response in Ecuador concluded on July 31, and we have handed all of our water, sanitation and hygiene activities to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). International Medical Corps assisted approximately 9,860 people, helping to prevent the outbreak and spread of disease in the aftermath of the disaster.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ emergency efforts, please visit “A Healthier Future for South Sudan’s Families” project, where International Medical Corps is responding to the urgently needed care for those affected by recent conflict.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/a-healthier-future-for-families-in-south-sudan/

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador 

“At first they [International Medical Corps] came around asking where the most needs were. By the next week they came and built showers, latrines, and are currently putting up water tanks. Truly this is what we need. It is very good help because good health care begins with good hygiene. For me, this is incredible.” Dr. Carlos, a local physician and beneficiary, from Jama of Manabí province in Ecuador recalls.

Carlos speaks of our response following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, striking Ecuador on April 16, 2016. With more than 2,280 aftershocks, many coastal villages were devastated, with significant damage further inland, including collapsed buildings and destroyed roads. The Government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency for six provinces, including the worst-affected coastal provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas. In all, there were 671 fatalities, 6,200 injuries, and the damage or destruction of 29,000 buildings.

The Government of Ecuador estimates that rebuilding Ecuador’s earthquake-damaged communities, repairing local infrastructure, and fully regaining economic productivity may take as long as three years. A total of 68,000 families—approximately 231,000 people—registered for government assistance through the Registro Único de Damnificados. The government has supported more than 10,470 affected families with food and rent support, and issued 9,300 bonds for housing reconstruction. Classes officially resumed on July 4, with an estimated 55,000 children returning to academic activity following the completion of 26 temporary education units in affected areas.

Humanitarian and disaster response organizations are currently handing over activities to sustainable country entities, including various government ministries and organizations with a long-term country presence. In Esmeraldas and Manabí, approximately 8,700 people remained in 26 official displacement sites as of late July, with thousands of others staying with host families and in spontaneous settlements. The Government of Ecuador and relief agencies have emphasized the importance of coordination to ensure that existing needs continue to be addressed as the emergency response phase comes to a close and recovery efforts move forward.

In support of the Government of Ecuador’s response efforts and in the wake of the April 16 quake, International Medical Corps deployed an emergency response expert to provide relief in the aftermath of the quake. Longtime First Responder, Dr. Robert Fuller, joined a team of 30 local medical professionals to assess the needs in the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. The local team of medical volunteers provided care to 158 patients and delivered basic medical supplies and medicines to health facilities in the days immediately following the quake.

In response to identified needs and working in coordination with government entities and other relief partners, we deployed an emergency response team to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance in quake-affected Manabí Province. Focusing efforts in the affected cantons, or “districts”, of Jama and Pedernales, we reached 32 sites, including 25 small villages, five displacement camps, and two spontaneous settlements, partnering with organizations like Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio to help ensure services reached those most in need.

Working hand-in-hand with community members, we constructed 76 showers and 30 latrines in Jama and Pedernales, benefitting approximately 3,380 people. Our teams also assembled 19 water tanks for the showers, along with handwashing stations. In order to ensure that affected households had access to soap, towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary pads, and other essential hygiene items, we also delivered 2,051 hygiene kits. Water filters accompanied the kits when needed, with teams distributing 930 water filters to families. Our interventions helped to prevent the outbreak and spread of disease by restoring and improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in the aftermath of the disaster.

With your generous and timely support and support from other donors, we reached some 9,860 men, women, and children – like Dr. Carlos – with relief services following the quake in Ecuador. We thank you for your continued support as we work to assist those in urgent need anywhere, anytime, no matter what the conditions.

Photos taken by Enrique Aviles. 

We worked hand-in-hand with community members
We worked hand-in-hand with community members
We reached approximately 9,860 people with support
We reached approximately 9,860 people with support
Activities spanned 32 sites
Activities spanned 32 sites
Aug 8, 2016

Japan Earthquakes: Relief and Recovery

International Medical Corps teams providing care
International Medical Corps teams providing care

“We never expected this to happen,” said Reiko, 81. “There are no signs that tell us that an earthquake is coming.” Reiko is one of the thousands whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the recent earthquakes in Japan in April 2016.

On April 14, a powerful magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan, followed just 48 hours later by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. More than 1,700 aftershocks hit in the weeks that followed. Our teams deployed from Tokyo and arrived within hours of the second earthquake, reaching the epicenter in Kumamoto. We have been partnering with the government and local authorities to provide surge capacity and respond. Since the quakes, our teams have reached some 2,500 people forced from their homes into more than 20 evacuation centers across the affected areas.

With 49 deaths, 1,400 people injured, and 145,000 buildings destroyed or damaged, water, sanitation and hygiene services, rehabilitative care, and psychosocial support were among the greatest needs for individuals suffering from the impact of the earthquakes. Our teams emphasized care for the most vulnerable – older evacuees – who, when many individuals began returning home, had to stay behind due to limited mobility and need for additional assistance. To address the most urgent needs, we reached 201 older evacuees with occupational and physical therapy to support rehabilitative care and 1,278 people with 5,561 relief materials including clothing, bedding, water supplies, lights, and more.

To accommodate individuals seeking temporary shelter, our teams provided 722 people with hygiene kits containing soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste to help people stay healthy and prevent the spread of disease. In order to support strained evacuation centers, we provided 10 latrines, which can reach 500 people with additional sanitary care. International Medical Corps also provided psychological first aid training – a core aspect of our approach to psychosocial support in an emergency – for 15 local staff members to help strengthen positive coping strategies and build local capacity.

When recalling the quakes, Yukie says, “I didn’t expect such a huge earthquake. I evacuated by car, which belongs to my neighbor. I was so scared and couldn’t sleep by myself. I spent the night in the car. Then, the second one happened [two days later]. It was beyond imagination. I cannot go back to my house,” she said. At 88 years old, Yukie lived by herself in her home in the bamboo-covered mountains above Mifune, a town in Kumamoto Prefecture. To support evacuees’ mental and physical well-being, our teams worked with 9 physical or occupational therapists, 3 psychosocial support professionals, and 8 nurses to serve evacuees with limited access to care. With 10 doctors from Kumamoto City Hospital, we ensured quality service delivery.

As individuals like Reiko and Yukie continue to recover from the effects of the quakes, our teams are working with our local partner, Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center, to provide shelter support, distribute food, and provide relief services to individuals who remain displaced. We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your timely support as we reach those in need. 

Reiko and her husband evacuated to a school
Reiko and her husband evacuated to a school
Yukie is among the quake-affected individuals
Yukie is among the quake-affected individuals
Responding to the April 2016 quakes
Responding to the April 2016 quakes
Jul 28, 2016

Keeping Mothers and Babies Safe in Sierra Leone

Emergency obstetric care is critical to save lives
Emergency obstetric care is critical to save lives

A maternal and child health aide described a newborn baby as “pale and floppy” following a complex caesarean. “Previously we would have just wrapped the baby in a blanket and thought there was nothing we could do, but now we know what to do.” Because of International Medical Corps’ pilot training program, the maternal and child health aide used her newly-acquired skills and successfully resuscitated the baby. She was so proud of what she had done and she said her colleagues all thought she was a hero. Since then, the maternal and child health aide believes up to 40 babies have been saved due to the teams’ improved understanding of newborn resuscitation.

Flexible and generous funding from GlobalGiving and other donors enables International Medical Corps to make strategic investments to address gaps in Ebola preparedness and response capacity within the health system and in communities. For example, the Northern Province of Sierra Leone – where Port Loko District and our midwifery pilot project are located – has the lowest rate of births attended by skilled birth attendants and the lowest number of institutional deliveries in the country.

The health needs of its population of more than 500,000 are met by only 107 Primary Health Units and two hospitals providing secondary and tertiary care. During the Ebola outbreak, the number of cases in Port Loko District was second only to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. One way our teams are addressing gaps in infection prevention and control readiness is by training maternal and child health aides, individuals who are responsible for maternal and newborn health in Sierra Leone’s health system.

Today, we have trained 50 maternal and child health aides with our midwifery mentorship program, supporting increased infection prevention control measures as well as training on emergency obstetric and maternal and newborn health practices – like newborn resuscitation – improving health workers’ ability to keep themselves and mothers and babies safe. The lives of many women and newborns have already been saved as a result of International Medical Corps’ pilot midwifery training and mentorship program for maternal and child health aides and midwives in Port Loko District of Sierra Leone.

People are regaining confidence in the safety of health facilities because of infection prevention control training, and are making greater use of their services for maternal health care and other needs. We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your support as we continue to build health care confidence in the post-Ebola context.

Training in Port Loko District of Sierra Leone
Training in Port Loko District of Sierra Leone
Maternal and child health aides training
Maternal and child health aides training
 
   

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