Sep 20, 2019

Where Are We Now?

Six of eight new survivors in traditional outfits
Six of eight new survivors in traditional outfits

In December 2013, a young boy was infected with Ebola in Guinea from bats. Over two years later, the largest outbreak in history was declared over with an accumulated 28,616 confirmed cases and 11,320 deaths across ten countries, including the United States.

International Medical Corps was in West Africa from the very beginning of that outbreak, just like we have been responding from the very beginning of the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now the second largest outbreak in history, according to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa’s September 18, 2019 report, there have already been 3,145 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola and 2,098 deaths across two countries and 37 health zones.

During the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola Outbreak, International Medical Corps trained more than 5,000 health and technical workers in Ebola case management and infection prevention and control. We supported five Ebola Treatment Centers that cared for 2,678 patients, including 460 Ebola-positive patients. Finally, we constructed 27 screening and referral units that had conducted more than 670,000 screenings by mid-2016.

Since August 2018, in this current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, International Medical Corps has already trained more than 1,700 health and technical workers on infection prevention and control and other topics related to Ebola response. We have staffed two Ebola Treatment Centers that have cared for 1,407 patients, including more than 260 confirmed cases, and our teams have constructed 48 screening and referral units that have conducted more than 1 million screenings. While it is difficult to compare responses, one of the differences is reduced media attention on the current outbreak. Public interest is often tied directly to funding availability, impacting nonprofit organizations, such as International Medical Corps.

What’s Going on This Time?

Treatments. Though cases continue to rise, preliminary data from the clinical trial in which our team in DRC is participating are very positive and signal potential game-changing Ebola treatments that will be used in this and future outbreaks. Two of the experimental Ebola treatments that were trialed appear to greatly increase survival rates. These two therapies will now be offered to all patients in the DRC.

International Medical Corps was one of three humanitarian non-governmental organizations that were part of this trial. Dr. Adam Levine, International Medical Corps’ Director of the Ebola Research Project, said, “This Ebola therapeutics trial is the largest ever conducted and the first to be run in the middle of a conflict zone. International Medical Corps is proud to be one of the few organizations participating in this groundbreaking trial, which will not only help us find better treatments for this deadly disease but also likely alter the humanitarian community’s approach to research for decades to come.”

Psychosocial Support. International Medical Corps is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to provide psychosocial support to patients and their families at our Mangina treatment center, and to survivors as they rejoin their communities.

Community Engagement. International Medical Corps is engaging the community in Ebola surveillance through networks of Community Health Workers. Because of the widespread fear and misinformation related to Ebola, these healthcare workers are conducting household visits, hosting educational talks and leading mass sensitization sessions to spread awareness of the realities of the disease. Trained to recognize Ebola signs and symptoms, they play a key role in discovering new cases and tracing contacts. International Medical Corps’ community engagement activities have reached nearly 64,000 people.

Vaccinations. Healthcare professionals are using what is called a “vaccination ring,” or vaccinating everyone who has come in contact with an infected person, to prevent the spread of the disease. However, misinformation and fear of the government have often prevented healthcare professionals from being completely effective.

Thanks to the GlobalGiving community and other donors, for continually enabling access to cutting-edge services for Ebola patients and survivors and their family members.

One of five cured Ebola patients from June 2019
One of five cured Ebola patients from June 2019
Sep 11, 2019

Final Report on the Indonesia Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Handover ceremony with KUN and Yogi (second left).
Handover ceremony with KUN and Yogi (second left).

As International Medical Corps’ emergency response to the Central Sulawesi and Sunda Strait earthquakes and tsunamis have come to a close, this will be the final report. Thanks to the support of the GlobalGiving community and other generous donors, our team has ensured access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene; shelter; and mental health and psychosocial support for more than 8,600 men, women and children in Central Sulawesi.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps and our GlobalGiving projects, please visit our “Emergency Response to Hurricane Dorian.” Hurricane Dorian did not head straight to Florida as was originally expected, but — as a Category 5 storm packing sustained winds of 185mph and gusts of 220 mph — stalled over the northwest Bahamas, causing widespread devastation and loss of life. In response, International Medical Corps has sent an emergency response team to Nassau to support the Government of the Bahamas and local partners to assess how best to serve those affected by the hurricane.

The Importance of Partners

Emergency responses, such as the earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia, are complex processes that involve many parties. “In Indonesia, a country hit regularly by natural disasters, there is a well-defined system for how government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) respond to emergencies, work together through recovery, and support long-term development efforts,” says Chandra, Program Officer for International Medical Corps.

Yogi, the Country Representative for International Medical Corps Indonesia, explains that “timing and accuracy are key to an ethical and effective response.” Our on-the-ground teams aim to be the first there, no matter where the disaster. However, “no institution has the ability to map every need of a community after a disaster,” says Yogi. He continues, “working with partners, therefore, becomes the best medium for exchanging information so that all parties can obtain complete information and can plan their operations appropriately, without overlapping or gaps in the field.”

Right after the earthquakes and tsunamis, “our teams collected initial information about local organizations participating in the response for Central Sulawesi,” and found three local NGOs whose missions and goals aligned with ours. The organizations were all local humanitarian organizations that had previously worked within disaster response: Yayasan Kemanusiaan Muslim Indonesia (YKMI), KUN Humanity System (KUN), and Indonesia Bhadra Utama Foundation (IBU).

Two of the organizations, YKMI and KUN, were known for working in agriculture, environment, water, sanitation, hygiene, and livelihoods, and they worked with our teams to train community members on hygiene and construct 137 shelters. The third local partner, IBU, worked with us in three villages to provide psychosocial support services to more than 1,200 children and 575 caregivers who survived the disaster.

“Our partners are key to the sustainability of initiatives and, long after the projects end, our local partners retain the skills and ability for an effective, high quality response to the next disaster,” says Chandra. Working with partners makes our teams more effective. She continues with, “our local partners bring linguistic, cultural, contextual knowledge enabling rapid and scalable emergency response. The technical acumen and skill building we bring supports high-quality response efforts, as well as long-term development goals.”

Yogi told us that working with our partners reminded him of himself: “I started my career a dozen years ago as a young, energetic man full of passion, idealism, enthusiasm, and thirsting for knowledge, but I still needed to get further guidance and experience.” Yogi believes that by partnering with local organizations, our experts are both gaining knowledge from local communities, and leaving knowledge and skills behind so that they can become their own first responders.

We thank the GlobalGiving community for helping make it possible for our teams to help train communities to become their own first responders, both in Indonesia and worldwide.

Yogi (second left) & KUN celebrate the completion.
Yogi (second left) & KUN celebrate the completion.
Traditional celebrations for reaching our goals.
Traditional celebrations for reaching our goals.
Sep 9, 2019

Hurricane Dorian Update

Hurricane Dorian first affected Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and appeared to be heading directly toward Florida. International Medical Corps worked with our team on Puerto Rico to prepare, we also assembled a team to deploy to Florida, at the request of the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), to support the state’s emergency operations. One team traveled to the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, to coordinate efforts with government officials and local partners as they prepared for the storm’s impact. We also deployed medical teams to help the FDOH provide emergency health services to vulnerable populations, including at a special-needs center in Palm Coast, where about 100 people took shelter from the storm, which brought high winds, flooding and even tornadoes to the area.

Hurricane Dorian did not head straight to Florida, but—as a Category 5 storm packing sustained winds of 185mph and gusts of 220 mph—stalled over the northwest Bahamas, causing widespread devastation and loss of life. In response, International Medical Corps sent an emergency response team to Nassau to work to help the Government of the Bahamas and local partners to assess the situation and figure out how to best serve those affected by the hurricane.

At the request of the Bahamian Ministry of Health (MoH), International Medical Corps is deploying a Mobile Emergency Medical Team (EMT) for outpatient care in Grand Bahamas. Our doctors, nurses, mental health, and water, sanitation and hygiene staff will work with the people and government of Bahamas to provide medical services and medicines through mobile medical teams; rehabilitate water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure; conduct hygiene promotion to prevent the spread of disease; and assess and address psychosocial support needs, to help individuals who have lost loved ones and livelihoods.

During a recent interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS Newshour, our Team Lead, Susan Mangicaro, noted that, “The islands have been dramatically impacted. Most healthcare systems are non-functioning, with minimal support.” She adds, “We deal with disasters all the time, so we have the flexibility to be totally independent, running a clinic that’s self-standing, or have mobile teams that go out and treat patients where they happen to be.”

We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your support, which will help us address the unparalleled level of damage in the Bahamas, and the plight of its people. 

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.