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.
Nov 8, 2016

Helping Japan Recover

International Medical Corps staff helps a survivor
International Medical Corps staff helps a survivor

International Medical Corps’ earthquake response in Japan has now concluded. We partnered with the government and local authorities to provide surge capacity and fill identified gaps to support their response. Our teams reached approximately 2,500 people forced from their homes into more than 20 evacuation centers across the affected areas, and we partnered with local organization, Peace Boat Disaster Volunteer Center, to reach thousands more.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ emergency efforts, please visit our “Emergency Response to Hurricane Matthew” project at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-hurricane-matthew.

 

                                                                      Helping Japan Recover 

“I had seen footage of earthquakes from all over the world,” said Kuramoto. “It looked terrible, I never thought it would happen to us.”

On April 24th, Kuramoto was taking a bath when a powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southern islands of Japan. The earthquake toppled buildings, knocked out power and cut off the clean water supply to thousands of people.  When it was over, Kuramoto’s home, which her father had built 130 years ago, lay in ruins. She and her husband were fortunate to escape the collapse. Just 48 hours later, an even stronger 7.0 magnitude earthquake proved even more damaging. More than 1,700 aftershocks hit in the weeks that followed, further damaging weakened structures. In all, there were 49 casualties, about 1,400 injuries and some 181,000 people evacuated from their homes.

International Medical Corps’ emergency response experts deployed from Tokyo and reached the epicenter in Kumamoto within hours of the second quake. Our teams worked closely with government officials and local organizations to meet the urgent needs of the affected and vulnerable populations, especially older and disabled people. As evacuation centers became overcrowded, we provide latrines and hygiene kits to promote health and sanitation. We also distributed mattresses, towels, socks, underwear, and other items that evacuees need to be as comfortable as possible in the temporary shelters. In the days and weeks that followed, our staff provided physical therapy and psychological first aid training to help survivors recover from physical and psychological injuries sustained during the earthquakes.

Our teams also partnered with Peace Boat Disaster Volunteer Center to support earthquake relief and recovery efforts. Staff and more than 5,000 volunteers supported evacuees. Together, local actors distributed over 16,000 hot meals to earthquake disaster victims; created a recreational space for children; and held workshops and events to provide information on earthquake recovery and critical information on available services for thousands in need; and more.

Today, Kuramoto and her husband live in the gymnasium of the local school that she had attended as a child. The polished wooden floor is covered by row after row of mattresses lain atop bedframes improvised from cardboard boxes. “I feel like this has been a dream,” Kuramoto said. “I don’t know where to go from here.” Plans are underway to provide temporary housing and more permanent solutions, but the extent of the damage means that many people will likely be living in evacuation centers for some time to come.

We want to thank you and the GlobalGiving community for all of your support as we assisted the earthquake-affected people of Japan.

A man with his belongings in the shelter
A man with his belongings in the shelter
Helping residents of the temporary shelter
Helping residents of the temporary shelter
Oct 26, 2016

Comfort's Story: Providing Care to Ebola Survivors

Comfort spent 17 days in the Ebola Treatment Unit
Comfort spent 17 days in the Ebola Treatment Unit

“It was like a big cloud over my eyes,” Comfort Kollie says, describing how it felt to slowly lose her sight. Comfort spent 17 days in International Medical Corps’ Ebola Treatment Unit in Bong, Liberia before being discharged with a clean bill of health. But not long after returning home to her family, Comfort began experiencing excruciating pain in her bones and joints, and then the world began to darken. She recalls, “I cried. I thought I would never see again.”

Comfort is one of some 17,000 survivors of the recent Ebola outbreak, most of whom live in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. During the outbreak, humanitarian organizations like International Medical Corps made tremendous strides in treating and preventing the deadly disease, and in the process raised new questions about the long-term effects of Ebola, which experts call Post-Ebola Syndrome. Like Comfort, many survivors experience Post-Ebola symptoms such as body pains, psychological trauma and vision problems.

Megan Vitek, a registered nurse and program coordinator for International Medical Corps’ Post-Ebola Syndrome program says, “There is still so much unknown about what happens to a survivor’s body once their blood test is negative and they are discharged from the Ebola Treatment Unit.” Research into long-term side effects suggests that the virus can persist in bodily fluids, such as semen, and areas of the inner eye, where the virus causes blinding lesions.

International Medical Corps takes an integrated approach to survivor care. Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, we are leveraging our experience on the frontline of the fight against Ebola to rebuild devastated health systems by training health workers, providing primary care and fostering community engagement. Our outreach programs work with survivors to rebuild lives and communities by dispelling myths, leading health promotion activities and facilitating dialogue. In Liberia in particular, our team also works with ophthalmologists to treat lesions caused by Ebola, as well as physiotherapists to combat bone and joint pain. When Comfort’s symptoms grew worse, she turned, once again, to International Medical Corps. She still experiences some pain in her bones and joints, but she has fully recovered her sight, and has returned to her career as a nurse. She says, “Because of International Medical Corps’ help, I can see clearly now.”

We want to thank the GlobalGiving community for your support as we continue to promote infection prevention and control and provide healthcare to Ebola survivors who need it the most.

A doctor performs an eye exam on an Ebola survivor
A doctor performs an eye exam on an Ebola survivor
A survivor receives treatment for his eyesight
A survivor receives treatment for his eyesight
Oct 11, 2016

Emergency Response Update: Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew caused significant damage
Hurricane Matthew caused significant damage

International Medical Corps’ emergency response team is on the ground in southwestern Haiti, providing medical care and emergency relief in some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew.

“We have heard reports of localized cholera outbreaks in communities along the coast, largely in areas that have yet to be reached with assistance,” says Sean Casey, International Medical Corps’ emergency response team leader on the ground. “Every hour counts. We urgently need access to cut-off areas so we can help stop these cholera outbreaks, or we could have a crisis that kills far more people than the storm itself.”

In Les Cayes, a seaport in the area of southwestern Haiti that bore the brunt of the storm, our teams assessed temporary shelters and found that many are overcrowded, with a number of children and adults reporting illness. Our team has found that many hurricane-affected communities lack access to safe drinking water, putting them at high-risk of disease outbreaks, while many health facilities are damaged with limited or no supplies.

Already Immaculate Conception Hospital in Les Cayes, Sud Department, has reported two patients with cholera, and at least three cases have been reported in Jérémie, Grand’Anse Department. There are additional unconfirmed reports of isolated outbreaks of cholera along the southern coast, which has the potential to spread as access between communities improves.

In support of the Government of Haiti’s response efforts, International Medical Corps is focusing on reaching hard-hit and remote areas with medical care, water, sanitation and hygiene support, and expanding cholera prevention and treatment efforts, including:

 

  • Deploying mobile medical units to provide health care, including working to mitigate the spread of cholera
  • Supporting local health facilities with medical personnel, medicines and medical supplies, clean water, debris removal, and additional assistance as needed
  • Ensuring communities have access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene supplies to prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases

In response to the needs resulting from Hurricane Matthew, we plan to continue and scale this work, and are grateful for the GlobalGiving community's support. 

Over 61,000 people are in evacuation shelters
Over 61,000 people are in evacuation shelters
We are addressing needs in southwestern Haiti
We are addressing needs in southwestern Haiti
 
   

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