May 2, 2019

A New Class of Midwives

Demonstrating proper newborn care to students
Demonstrating proper newborn care to students

“In my country,” Lexon, who is a midwifery student at one of International Medical Corps’ sponsored schools in South Sudan explains, “we lose so many lives because of carelessness and lack of professionals. I keep asking myself, ‘why do our mothers still die in childbirth?’”

Skilled birth attendants, such as midwives, mean the difference between life and death for mothers and newborns. The United Nations Population Fund asserts that 61% of maternal deaths, 49% of fetal deaths and 60% of newborn deaths could be avoided if all women delivered with a midwife in a fully functioning facility.

Yet in South Sudan, there is only one medical doctor for 65,574 people and one midwife for 39,088, well below the World Health Organization’s recommended threshold of one health worker per 10,000 people. This leaves South Sudan with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world with an estimated 789 deaths per 100,000 live births — compared to 18 deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States.

International Medical Corps supports three midwifery and nursing training schools in South Sudan, the Kajo Keji Health Sciences Institute, the Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery and the Wau Health Sciences Institute, where a total of 146 midwives and 176 nurses have graduated from the three-year training program to date. In 2019, some 45 newly enrolled students began coursework in the sciences, communications, technologies, medical foundations and the humanities.

Many of the new students relying on support from donors to afford school costs, consisting of 19 women and 11 men, came from different parts of the country – some with stories of hardship. Mary, for example, is 24 years old and was born in Kakuma refugee camp, in Kenya. “I went to school in Kenya and came back to South Sudan two years ago and have always wanted to be a midwife.”

Thanks to the GlobalGiving community, students like Mary now have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of returning to their home communities to support mothers and ensure delivery of healthy babies for years to come.

"I want to be the change" - Lexon
"I want to be the change" - Lexon
"I had a dream to reduce maternal deaths" -Thomas
"I had a dream to reduce maternal deaths" -Thomas
Students in class at the Kajo Keji school
Students in class at the Kajo Keji school
Apr 9, 2019

Healthcare After Hurricane Michael

PanCare Health Center using our temporary shelters
PanCare Health Center using our temporary shelters

On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael struck the Florida panhandle with 155 mph winds and inflicted damage from Florida to Virginia. International Medical Corps worked with organizations like PanCare Health Network to provide healthcare services in Florida.

PanCare Health Network serves vulnerable populations at affordable prices. Sean, the Regional Operations Manager for Florida’s PanCare Health Network, said that nobody expected Hurricane Michael to be so severe: “Jackson County has never seen in recorded history anything like this type of devastation—ever… So, we had lots of folks who survived the storm, but were displaced post-storm.”

An estimated 80% of the PanCare patient population was affected by the storm, and the organization suffered nearly complete damage at two of their health facilities, in Marianna and Panama City.

With support from FedEx and AbbVie, and the GlobalGiving community, we deployed five emergency field hospital’s shelters — with three still on the ground in Florida — so that PanCare’s doctors, nurses and medical staff in Marianna and Panama City could continue to provide health and dental care for those most in need.

“We just want to make sure people get seen, people get taken care of. Because when they’re worried about everything else, they shouldn’t need to worry about, ‘I’m out of insulin, or I’m out of blood pressure medicine, or I have this cut that looks infected’” Sean tells us. “What we’re trying to do is… take care of these people. Try to keep our chins up… It’s tough” he explains.

A lot of people have lost their jobs and money – they cannot afford a doctor or dentist. “They’re so stressed out about everything,” Ashley, another PanCare staff member explains. “Their house is gone, their car is gone… I had a lady whose cat died during the storm and she’s just crying. Even if you’re just going for a dental cleaning, it’s a little bit of normalcy.”

Thanks to our generous donors, and the GlobalGiving community, International Medical Corps has been actively working since the storm to support some 3,350 medical consultations.

We thank everyone at GlobalGiving for your constant support as we continue to support the relief, recovery and resiliency for survivors of natural disasters, like those of Hurricane Michael.

Sean (left) and our team set up temporary shelters
Sean (left) and our team set up temporary shelters
Our shelters can be assembled into a med. facility
Our shelters can be assembled into a med. facility
PanCare Health Center using our temporary shelters
PanCare Health Center using our temporary shelters
Apr 5, 2019

The Impact of Cyclone Idai on Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean mother and her three children
Zimbabwean mother and her three children

On March 14 and 15, the category three storm known as Cyclone Idai reached the southeast coast of Africa. that 270,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe, with about 181 fatalities and 330 people still missing. Numbers are expected to rise as access to isolated communities is restored by fixing the damaged roads and bridges.

When the storm struck, International Medical Corps was already working in Zimbabwe to promote nutrition; increase access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene; support maternal and child health; and build local capacity to respond to a disaster. This close proximity allowed our teams to deploy quickly to the most affected districts of Zimbabwe.

On March 27, 2019, our on-the-ground team traveled through difficult terrain to the Ngangu township in the Chimanimani district to look at the most urgent needs. In this area, our findings were staggering — many people have lost their homes, family members and communities, agricultural crops and their livelihoods. Access to safe water and psychosocial support are among their most critical needs.

International Medical Corps quickly provided 500 household hygiene kits to help reach the most disaster-affected families and worked to identify the most improtant gaps in services. These kits included much needed supplies like soap, toilet paper and sanitary pads to promote a sense of dignity among the most vulnerable.

We thank the generous GlobalGiving community for any help you can provide to help our teams reach the women, men, and children impacted by Cyclone Idai’s devastation. We look forward to updating you as our relief efforts continue.

Zimbabweans crossing a makeshift bridge
Zimbabweans crossing a makeshift bridge
More Zimbabweans crossing the makeshift bridge
More Zimbabweans crossing the makeshift bridge
Provision of 500 household hygiene kits
Provision of 500 household hygiene kits
 
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