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.
Jun 18, 2019

Ensuring the Resiliency of the Next Generation

Firdaus (left) talking to the children of Baluese.
Firdaus (left) talking to the children of Baluese.

Survivors of disasters are at higher risk for psychological distress and mental health conditions due to the stress, fear, displacement, uncertainty and loss of loved ones and livelihoods, which are affecting them, their families and their communities.

In the aftermath of the Central Sulawesi earthquakes and tsunamis in Fall 2018, International Medical Corps partnered with Indonesia Bhadra Utama Foundation (IBU), a local non-governmental organization working in emergency response, to facilitate a two-day workshop for 21 local volunteers on child protection, psychological first aid and other approaches to psychosocial support. The workshop included activity-based discussions on topics such as safe boundaries, safe touches versus hurtful touches, stress management and identifying emotions. At the conclusion of the workshop, the volunteers’ knowledge about mental health and psychosocial support had increased by 61% between their mean pre-test and post-test scores.

Thanks to interviews and observations conducted by the newly trained psychosocial support volunteers, we learned that post-disaster psychological distress was evident among both children and adults in Sigi and Donggala district of Central Sulawesi. Since being installed in his role the youth leader for Baluase village of Sigi District, Firdaus has addressed these concerns through informal education activities promoting positive mental health for some 740 primary school-aged children, 6 to 12 years old, in three safe spaces, known as Rumah Kencana Centres, in Baluase, Walatana and Balongga villages.

"I am very happy there is a workshop that provides instruction on the promotion of mental health for youth and adolescents after the disaster,” Firdaus tells us. “I think that a program like this not only helps us anticipate the needs in the aftermath of a disaster, but also builds up a village through the youth.” He continues: “Discussing and declaring ideas among young people should be continued.”

The workshop allowed Firdaus to integrate his new skills and knowledge with ongoing conversations within the village, and with existing platforms for community-based activities, such as the “Nature Lover’s Group.” “The youth here are used to leading discussions and planning events. For example, we have a ‘Nature Lover’s Group’ that plans mountain activities,” he says.

Thanks to the GlobalGiving community and other donors, International Medical Corps team members and our local volunteers, like Firdaus, can continue to ensure the resiliency of the next generation through future disasters.

Learning about safe boundaries and resiliency.
Learning about safe boundaries and resiliency.
Firdaus promotes positive mental health.
Firdaus promotes positive mental health.
The trainees will teach about mental health.
The trainees will teach about mental health.
 
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