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.
Aug 6, 2015

Fighting a Cholera Outbreak in a South Sudanese Displaced Persons Camp

Children sign up to receive cholera vaccination
Children sign up to receive cholera vaccination

International Medical Corps has extensive experience in cholera outbreak response and prevention in a variety of countries including Haiti, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Iraq and South Sudan. International Medical Corps began implementing programs in South Sudan more than a decade before the peace agreement was signed. Today, International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas focusing on improving immediate and long-term health services. Our 87 primary and secondary health facilities provide a fully integrated package of public health services to more than 483,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations.

International Medical Corps is currently managing the response to the cholera outbreak at a Juba Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, which hosts a population of about 30,000. International Medical Corps’ enhanced surveillance system identified “patient zero” at this site, one of the “hotspots” of the current cholera outbreak in South Sudan. As of June 26, 2015, 313 cholera cases have been reported in the country, with 26 deaths.

In the PoC camp, International Medical Corps has three outpatient clinics and a field hospital that includes an emergency department, a 40-bed inpatient facility, a maternity ward with delivery rooms and an operating theater. Cholera cases are diagnosed using rapid diagnostic tests administered by the hospital laboratory. The inpatient department houses a 10-bed isolation ward that is currently operating as a cholera treatment unit for those who test positive. To mitigate the chances of spreading the disease, hygiene measures include hand washing and foot spraying with chlorine on entry and exit from the health facilities. We have trained a group of 35 community health promoters and they are actively sensitizing community members to good hygiene practices, and identifying and referring suspect cases. Our staff has also trained a contact-tracing and case investigation team to investigate every confirmed case.

Cholera, a highly infectious, but treatable diarrheal disease, is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. An estimated 3 to 5 million people contract cholera every year and between 100,000 to 120,000 of those people die as a result. As many as 80% of cases can be treated successfully using oral rehydration salts, but its short incubation period, which ranges from two hours to five days, contributes to the often rapid speed of cholera outbreaks in communities that are without proper water and sanitation systems.

In an effort to stop the outbreak from continuing, International Medical Corps chairs the multiagency cholera task force responsible for cholera response in the camp. With support from WHO and UNICEF, we vaccinated 27,340 people in a four-day oral cholera vaccination campaign in the camp, and followed up with a second round vaccination campaign shortly after. Overall we reached 85% of the registered population. International Medical Corps has treated a total of 69 cases since the beginning of the outbreak, all of whom have recovered. It is with the generous support of GlobalGiving and other donors that International Medical Corps is able to respond to this outbreak with such critically needed, lifesaving support.

Children show where vaccination was received
Children show where vaccination was received
Community health worker shares hygiene information
Community health worker shares hygiene information
Families line up to receive vaccination cards
Families line up to receive vaccination cards
Aug 6, 2015

International Medical Corps Response to Nepal: Three Month Update

To date, in just over three months, International Medical Corps’ work has benefitted more than 200,000 people in the hardest-hit communities.  With your generosity, and the commitment of thousands of donors around the world:

  • 157,552 people will have greater access to care through 13 health facilities that International Medical Corps is rebuilding, in partnership with the Nepal government
  • 28,200 men, women and children benefitted from the distribution of cash grants, helping them access food and other urgently-needed supplies
  • 21,155 people are benefitting from the distribution of 4,231 hygiene kits, helping families purify water, wash their hands and maintain good hygiene practices
  • 19,625 people are benefitting from 785 newly-built emergency latrines across 5 districts, thwarting the spread of disease
  • 8,806 people have access to ongoing care through mobile physical therapy units, helping them overcome quake-related and other injuries
  • And much, much more.

Today, 2.8 million people in Nepal are still in need of assistance; many of them are also at risk from landslides and other effects of the current monsoon season.  Much remains to be done and International Medical Corps will continue to bring services to those most in need, and work with local partners and the government of Nepal to build back stronger.

Thank you again for your support continued support!


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Jul 23, 2015

International Medical Corps Helps Malnourished Children Reach Their Fifth Birthdays

International Medical Corps is committed to preventing the effects of malnutrition around the world through training local residents to be their own best First Responders. According to the World Health Organization, 6.9 million children did not survive beyond their fifth birthday in 2013. 101 million children around the world are undernourished and 165 million suffer from stunted growth because their bodies do not have enough nutrients. In an effort to help children reach their fifth birthdays, International Medical Corps operates nutrition and food security programs in some of the world’s most food-stressed areas, including Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Chad and South Sudan. Prevention measures protect children from the devastating long-term effects of malnutrition. Without proper nutrition, which includes all the necessary micronutrients, a child’s physical and mental development is stunted. This in turn impacts his or her potential to become a fully functioning member of society.

Emaria, a four-year-old boy in Ethiopia, was abandoned by his mother when he was only nine months old and is now being raised by his grandmother. The grandmother fed Emaria goat’s milk because it was all she could afford, but this was not enough nourishment for the small, vulnerable child. She said Emaria was often irritated by small things and cried often, so she brought him to a local clinic where International Medical Corps trained staff are employed. An International Medical Corps trained community health worker diagnosed Emaria with severe acute malnutrition during a medical screening. The health worker referred Emaria to a special nutrition program at a local health facility to help him recover from malnutrition. Emaria’s grandmother started to take him to the local health facility every week for a check-up and to receive Plumpy’nut, a peanut-based paste that can be eaten at home and prevents most children from being admitted to the hospital. Plumpy’nut has a shelf life of two years and requires no water, preparation or refrigeration and is an ideal solution for children like Emaria. This is the best possible treatment Emaria can receive for his condition.

By the end of only six weeks and six visits, Emaria had shown a remarkable improvement. He graduated from the life-saving severe acute malnutrition program to a program that helped provide him with a balanced, nutritious supplement and his grandmother was educated on critical infant and young child-feeding practices. Emaria was then discharged as cured because he had attained his targets! Emaria’s grandmother, after witnessing her grandson’s miraculous recovery through such simple methods, has now become an advocate in her community against malnutrition. “I am very happy with the work that the community health workers are doing. They saved my grandson’s life because after taking the food ration his health improved tremendously” she said with a smile. The grandmother reports that Emaria is a more active, playful and happy child, he is no longer easily irritated or crying as often.

Through this experience, not only did Emaria’s health improve, but his grandmother became her own best First Responder. She urges her neighbors to feed their children properly because she does not want to see anyone else’s children suffer and she ensures her other grandchildren’s health and nutrition. Now thanks to the support of GlobalGiving and other donors, Emaria will celebrate his fifth birthday as a happy, healthy child, as every child should.

 
   

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