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.
May 9, 2016

Final Report and Update on Response to the Afghanistan/Pakistan Earthquake Project

Assessments in Badakhshan following the quake
Assessments in Badakhshan following the quake

As International Medical Corps’ emergency response to the October 2015 earthquake that affected both Afghanistan and Pakistan has ended, this update will be the final one for the Response to the Afghanistan/Pakistan Earthquake project. However, teams remain in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, reaching communities in need with services, including primary health, reproductive health, gender-based violence prevention and treatment, and more, to improve the quality of life and health status of local men, women, and children.

Thank you for supporting International Medical Corps and our GlobalGiving projects. To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ emergency efforts, please visit our “Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador” project, where International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team is providing relief and recovery assistance for survivors of the quake.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-earthquake-response-in-ecuador/

 

International Medical Corps’ Response to the Afghanistan/Pakistan Earthquake

In Nawabad in Kunar Province of Afghanistan, Nazar Khan was driving when he felt the earthquake. He pulled over into an open area and remained inside the vehicle until the tremors stopped. When he got out of his car he noticed a partially collapsed house nearby. With the First Responder training he had received from International Medical Corps, Nazar knew he could help. He went to the local mosque and announced a call for help through the loudspeakers usually reserved for the call to prayer. Villagers and other International Medical Corps-trained volunteers responded and were able to rescue an entire family that was trapped in a damaged home.

Since 2011, we have been implementing an Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance-funded Emergency Preparedness and Response program in Eastern Afghanistan, building local response capacity in at-risk communities. We’ve trained more than 19,000 male and female community volunteers to provide first aid, search and rescue operations, and conduct damage and loss assessments. The program’s holistic approach allows trained community members to efficiently and effectively reach the most affected groups of people in a community during the disaster. After the October 2015 earthquake, Nazar along with other volunteers, utilized their training to quickly mobilize help for those most in need. Volunteers not only collected earthquake-related casualty data to inform timely and effective national response, but responded immediately to the destruction—reaching people in need with first aid and pre-positioned relief supplies.

The powerful 7.5-magnitude quake that struck on October 26, 2015, affected both eastern regions of Afghanistan and northern areas of Pakistan. With nearly 400 deaths, 2,244 injuries, and more than 120,000 homes damaged or destroyed, International Medical Corps mobilized within 48 hours, deploying medical teams to the hardest-hit areas to meet emergency needs and surging support for the trained volunteers in Afghanistan. In addition to deploying 8 mobile medical units in Afghanistan and 2 mobile teams in Pakistan, International Medical Corps scaled support at static health facilities, providing more than 28,000 medical consultations as well as 395 antenatal and 151 postnatal care consultations for survivors of the quake and those seeking assistance.

With the onset of harsh winter weather conditions, including heavy rainfall and below freezing temperatures, the earthquake exacerbated needs for relief supplies, particularly for those who lost their homes. International Medical Corps responded to these needs and reached more than 9,000 displaced people with thermal blankets, warm clothing, bedding, or hygiene materials, such as washing soap, toothbrushes, towels, and more, to ease the suffering of earthquake-affected families.

Following the devastation from the quake, many people also experienced increased stress, depression, and insecurity due to the loss of their homes and livelihoods. In response, staff provided individual and group counseling for those experiencing challenges as a result of trauma from the earthquake. For one 16-year old girl, the quake had frightened her so much that she refused to go to back to her bedroom. We provided her with individual counseling, and, after six weeks, she was ready to enter her room again. Family members thanked International Medical Corps for the unique and much-needed support. Teams went on to provide more than 2,300 people with individual counseling sessions and reached more than 3,580 with group sessions.

International Medical Corps not only responded to the destruction from the October 2015 earthquake, but trained local community volunteers, like Nazar, so they could be ready and prepared for it. With the timely and generous support from the GlobalGiving community and other donors, International Medical Corps worked with the ministries of health to provide health care and mental health services, and to distribute urgently needed relief supplies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are extremely thankful for your support, which helps make these lifesaving interventions possible.

Damages in Shegal District of Pakistan
Damages in Shegal District of Pakistan
Response services for those in need in Pakistan
Response services for those in need in Pakistan
Teams deliver supplies to villages in Afghanistan
Teams deliver supplies to villages in Afghanistan
May 3, 2016

Surveillance and Response for Ebola Remains Critical in West Africa

With flare-ups, surveillance and response is vital
With flare-ups, surveillance and response is vital

It was March 18th, a regular Wednesday afternoon and everyone at the International Medical Corps office in Conakry, Guinea was involved in meetings, reports, and calls to ensure the post-Ebola program was running smoothly. Then, a call disrupted that routine at 4:23PM – three Ebola cases were confirmed. Another two were suspected. After a two-year battle with Ebola that sickened and killed thousands, it was news that would make many go silent, unsure of how to react.

“Not our staff though. We get ready to respond.” Laura Stana, International Medical Corps’ Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator in Guinea recalled of that day in March.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the three most-affected countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea – have each reached the 42-day “Ebola-transmission free” mark at least once, sometimes twice, before discovering new chains of transmission. The most recent outbreak in Guinea left five people dead and put more than 800 people in quarantine. Likely as a result of this latest outbreak in Guinea, reports surfaced on April 1 in neighboring Liberia of the first new Ebola case since early December 2015.

We need to continue to invest in surveillance efforts to ensure that new cases and chains of transmission are quickly identified and isolated.

Growing evidence suggests that bodily fluids, such as semen in men, and breast milk and potentially vaginal fluid in women, can lead to transmission for far longer than originally anticipated—leading to the possibility that most, if not all, of the new Ebola cases are a result of survivor transmission. It is important for teams to integrate surveillance for future outbreaks into care of survivors, conducting strong community engagement and the building surveillance and response networks.

Today, survivor care support, prevention of additional transmission, and the Ministry of Health’s “ring surveillance” approach, which ties ongoing survivor health care with community-based surveillance, builds upon our mission to respond to localized outbreaks, provide infection prevention control services, and safely transfer patients to facilities equipped to treat Ebola.

In Guinea, this integrated approach complements post-Ebola programs implemented in partnership with the CDC, George Washington University and others. The approach includes education about how the Ebola virus is transmitted, safe semen transport and testing, counseling for those who decline testing, reproductive health education for men testing positive and their partners, distribution of prophylactics such as condoms and possible vaccination for partners and close relatives of men who test positive as a preventive measure. Teams emphasize a tracking system to ensure that men who test positive return monthly for testing until they have had two negative tests.

Laura in Guinea notes that, “As Ebola is resurfacing today, International Medical Corps remains prepared to respond to ensure the safety of the Guinean population in the most remote corners of the country. Even in what is regarded as the post-Ebola context, the Rapid Response Teams still conduct weekly simulations to remain prepared for a real intervention.”

She goes on to say that, “In the end, the deployment scenario was explored, but not enacted. At 9AM, the National Coordination for the Eradication of Ebola and humanitarian partners decided to respond via various agencies already located in immediate proximity to outbreak. We continue to make sure that we have the internal capacity to be the first there, no matter where. We are always ready to respond, as we were on March 18th.” 

International Medical Corps thanks you and the GlobalGiving community for your continued support as we continue the fight against Ebola. 

Logistical teams preparing for deployment
Logistical teams preparing for deployment
Rapid Response Team in Ratoma, Guinea
Rapid Response Team in Ratoma, Guinea
Apr 25, 2016

Supporting Emergency Medical Care and Relief Efforts in Aftermath of Ecuador Earthquake

International Medical Corps is helping deliver emergency medical services to survivors of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador on April 16. Longtime First Responder Dr. Robert Fuller is on the ground and working with a team of local volunteer medical professionals to deploy at least four mobile medical teams to provide care in affected areas and provide assistance as needed to damaged hospitals and health facilities.

Dr. Fuller is conducting rapid assessments in some of the most affected areas to identify needs in preparation for the arrival of a mobile medical team shortly thereafter. The team has already assessed the situation in Manabí province, one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake, where several health facilities are reportedly operating with limited services because of partial damage and lack of electricity and water.  The team is now in Portoviejo en route to Pedernales, a town in Manabí province where the earthquake destroyed more than 500 buildings.

“International Medical Corps stands with the people of Ecuador following this tragedy, and we are deploying additional staff to scale up our support for earthquake relief efforts,” said Chris Skopec, Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response at International Medical Corps. “We are committed to supporting the Government of Ecuador and our local partners to deliver medical care and other relief to survivors as well as work with communities to rebuild and recover.”

The worst earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades has killed more than 570 people and left 7,000 others injured. Some 155 people are official registered as missing, while up to 1,700 people reportedly remain unaccounted for. As of April 20, the Government of Ecuador documented that more than 1,100 buildings were destroyed and another 800 were damaged. More than 530 aftershocks have been recorded since April 16, including ones that were 6.1 and 6.0 in magnitude. 

We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your continued support as we work to reach those in need with medical care following the earthquake. 

 
   

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