Jul 5, 2019

Providing Relief Post Cyclone Idai

Assessment team surveying the IDP communities.
Assessment team surveying the IDP communities.

Late on March 14, 2019, Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira City in the Sofala Province of Mozambique. According to UN OCHA, this Category 3 storm damaged or destroyed nearly 150,000 houses, weakened infrastructure and displaced more than 400,000 people. The healthcare and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems were also affected due to the rainy season and flooding.

At the start of our response, International Medical Corps traveled through the cyclone-affected districts with our local partner, Esmabama; Esmabama is a humanitarian organization focused on promoting safe WASH within the rural Sofala Province. Our teams conducted assessments of the most urgent water, sanitation and hygiene needs as well as needs related to mental health and psychosocial support.

The assessments identified the need for improved access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene to prevent the spread of diseases like cholera and malaria. They also identified gaps in both urgent and routine access to quality and comprehensive healthcare and mental health and psychosocial support care. Survivors of disasters like Cyclone Idai face a higher risk for psychological distress and mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and more.

Felicity, our Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Coordinator, explains that assessments such as ours allow us to “respond to the needs on the ground as they exist in real time.” She informs us that “the assessment is the first stage in accountable programming.”

Today, thanks to these assessments, we are partnering with Esmabama to rehabilitate water points in health facilities; test water quality to ensure the availability of clean water; and support basic sanitation infrastructure with handwashing stations. To address mental distress, we are providing training on psychological first aid. This technique in intended to provide humane and practical emotional support to fellow human beings who are suffering, in ways that respect their dignity, culture and capabilities. By providing skills and resources we are making it possible for the people of Sofala to be their own best first responders in the future.

Thanks to the generous support of the GlobalGiving community and other donors, International Medical Corps can continue to promote safe water, sanitation and hygiene and address mental distress in the communities affected by Cyclone Idai.  

Teams gathering information to build back better.
Teams gathering information to build back better.
Promoting WASH and mental health in affected areas
Promoting WASH and mental health in affected areas
Jul 2, 2019

Final Report on Hurricane Michael

Dennis smiling after receiving his new belt.
Dennis smiling after receiving his new belt.

Thanks to the support of the GlobalGiving community and other donors, International Medical Corps enabled access for some 74,300 people at seven locations to relief and recovery. Following Hurricane Michael, our teams provided a total of 4,000 health and dental consultations through mobile medical units and temporary shelters; trained 135 participants on post-recovery resiliency; and distributed nearly 6,000 hygiene and wound-care kits to health facilities. These “kits” included household cleaning and personal hygiene supplies, bandages and other basic items.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps and our GlobalGiving projects, please visit our “Emergency Response to the Ebola Outbreak in DRC.” The second largest Ebola outbreak in history, with more than 2,320 suspected or confirmed cases, has officially crossed international borders into Uganda. Your support is urgently needed to help alleviate the crisis.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-ebola-in-the-democratic-repu/

The Importance of Compassion in Emergency Response

Sitting up in a hospital bed at an intermediate healthcare center north of Tampa, proudly showing off his new defibrillation belt, Dennis knows he’s lucky to be alive after the most tumultuous eight days of his life.

Under the care of an International Medical Corps’ emergency response team that included two physicians and 15 nurses, the 63-year-old electrician was one of 36 people with intermediate healthcare needs who were brought to the center after being evacuated from some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Michael on October 10, 2018.

His journey there included being trapped for two days inside his Panama City mobile home partially buried under fallen trees, without food or water, with no cell phone coverage to call for help, and no power to operate his oxygen tank or charge his defibrillation belt. He admitted that there were moments when he was unsure whether he’d make it out alive.

In the excitement of his chaotic, emotional discovery and rescue, Etheridge left his defibrillation belt behind on the couch of his mobile home. Worn by those suffering from heart problems, the belt produces an electric shock that corrects a potentially life-threatening arrhythmic heartbeat. With International Medical Corps’ help, he now has a new belt — and he was happy to show it off.

Like others at the center, he was happy about the care he’d received from the International Medical Corps staff and volunteers since arriving at the center.

“Fantastic,” he said with a grin. “They’ve [International Medical Corps] come from all over this country — from California, from Arizona, from Oregon, from everywhere, just to help us here. I can’t believe they would care about us that much. The compassion they’ve shown is amazing.”

International Medical Corps volunteer physician Carolyn, who headed the team of eight nurses during five 12-hour shifts at the center, noted that it is important for medical staff to provide more than medical care. They also have to keep in mind what the evacuees have been through, and to acknowledge the severity of their experience.

Carolyn said that when working with patients whose lives have been turned upside down, “sometimes a simple hug will do more than medication.” Volunteer nurse Candice added, “The most important thing is being there for these people who have lost everything. Just giving kindness can help.”

Transporting survivors for intermediate care.
Transporting survivors for intermediate care.
Our volunteers at the intermediate care shelter.
Our volunteers at the intermediate care shelter.
Jun 24, 2019

The Importance of Water in an Ebola Crisis

Sanitizing all the equipment, even the boots.
Sanitizing all the equipment, even the boots.

On June 11, 2019, the first Ebola case was confirmed in Uganda, making this the first case linked to the outbreak outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the second largest outbreak in history. As of June 23, 2019, there were 2,269 suspected cases of Ebola with 2,145 confirmed and 1,506 fatalities in 24 health zones of the North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the DRC, according to the Ministry of Health.

Our team currently provides services to prevent and treat cases of Ebola in the DRC. To date, International Medical Corps has provided care to 186 confirmed and 571 suspected Ebola patients at our Ebola Treatment Centers; conducted more than 990,000 screenings for Ebola; trained over 1,300 health staff on proper infection prevention and control; and reached nearly 63,000 people through community engagement on prevention and treatment.

As our teams continue to care for those infected with the highly contagious virus, one of the many “must-have” items needed before the facility could accept its first patients presents a special logistical challenge: clean water. Water’s role in Ebola treatment goes beyond the task of keeping the patients hydrated as they endure vomiting and diarrhea triggered by the hemorrhagic virus.

Water is essential for the safe handling and disposal of Ebola-contaminated human waste, and for adhering to the strict procedures essential to maintaining safe hygiene. Water, sanitation and hygiene specialists estimate that the daily clean water needs for an Ebola treatment center today are as high as 400 liters per bed to treat patients and maintain the level of infection prevention needed to keep all staff and areas of the treatment facility safe.

Chlorinated water plays an important role in enabling the staff to keep the facility itself clean, and — more important still — themselves safe from exposure to the deadly virus. Healthcare staff must be followed by infection prevention and control teams who use spray wands connected to canisters of chlorinated water from boreholes to disinfect every footstep taken until every piece of equipment are removed, sprayed and quarantined to dry, right down to the boots.

Thank you to our GlobalGiving community and other donors, who help us continue to promote clean water, sanitation and hygiene in every response wherever and whenever it is needed most.

Preventing transmission starts with the staff.
Preventing transmission starts with the staff.
Preparing to treat an Ebola patient.
Preparing to treat an Ebola patient.
 
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