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.
Jun 9, 2016

Lifesaving Maternal Care in South Sudan

Graduation at the Wau Health Sciences Institute
Graduation at the Wau Health Sciences Institute

With only one medical doctor for every 65,574 people and one midwife for every 39,088 people, South Sudan experiences one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world: 789 deaths per 100,000 live births—as opposed to 21 deaths in the United States. The lack of personnel to provide lifesaving care impacts the availability of skilled attendance before, during and after childbirth.

International Medical Corps is contributing to the South Sudanese government’s goal of reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality and morbidity rates in the country, and increasing the number of skilled birth attendants. Today, we operate three midwifery and nursing schools in South Sudan, at Kajo Keji Health Sciences Institute, Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery, and Wau Health Sciences Institute.

“Our midwifery school tutors use mixed training methods that focus on skills building so that newly graduated midwives have the confidence to perform services such as Basic Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (known as BEmONC) in the health facilities where they work,” says Janet, our deputy director of health policy and practice. Our teams offer continuous training opportunities for school faculty to ensure that they are equipped with the latest tools and resources to graduate new midwives.

Every year, we increase the number of skilled birth attendants in the country, saving the lives of mothers and newborns. We enrolled our first students in Kajo Keji Health Sciences Institute in 2008, and our schools have graduated a total of 273 trained professionals: 230 midwives and 43 nurses.

Approximately 15% of women will suffer from complications during childbirth, usually due to obstructed labor, puerperal sepsis, hypertensive conditions such as eclampsia, and obstetric hemorrhage.

Regardless of where she lives or what medical services she has at her disposal, a woman’s chance of losing her life as a result of these complications decreases dramatically, by as much as two thirds, when she has an attendant present at delivery who is proficient in Basic Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (BEmONC).

To address these complications, BEmONC is a set of seven signal functions or interventions that must be available to all women at the time of delivery. Parenteral treatment of infection with antibiotics, vacuum-assisted delivery, and manual removal of the placenta and newborn resuscitation are just a few examples of BEmONC interventions.

Our teams work directly with the Ministry of Health to improve our training in BEmONC at the three schools and ensure the long-term sustainability of our midwifery programs.

Janet adds that, “There is an urgent need to expand the number of midwifery training programs in order to meet the need for skilled birth attendants in South Sudan.”

We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your support as we build the capacity of medical professionals in South Sudan, and work to address gaps in maternal and neonatal care—and save lives. 

Ceremony at Kajo Keji Health Sciences Institute
Ceremony at Kajo Keji Health Sciences Institute
Jun 7, 2016

Effects of Gender-Friendly Schools and School Clubs

Nathalie sharing her story to her peers
Nathalie sharing her story to her peers

“My name is Nathalie. I am 15 years old and in the third year of secondary school. In February, my parents told me they did not have the money to pay for my school fees as well as my brother’s school fees. I would have to stop attending school. I realized that I was going to be a victim of discrimination and that my right to an education would be violated. I told my parents that they must make the effort to pay my brother’s school fees as well as mine, as their decision to remove me from school is a form of sexual- and gender-based violence. I am now able to continue my studies because I had the courage to stand up for my education.”

Nathalie is part of a school club, created by International Medical Corps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its members lead communication activities with their peers on topics related to the sexual- and gender-based violence that can be experienced in school settings and within families and communities. Students participate in educational events like theater, individual sensitization on topics related to sexual- and gender-based violence, and debates. As we emphasize sustainable interventions, we provide gender-based violence sensitization activities for new school club members.

Since 2010, with support from USAID, our teams have been focusing on increasing community knowledge, awareness and capacity to prevent sexual- and gender-based violence at all levels, including individual, community and societal. The aim of this Behavior Change Communication program is to increase survivors’ access to services, improve quality of services, reduce vulnerability and prevent violence. Men, women, youth, community leaders, and government officials reached by the project are involved in activities that promote gradual positive change.

Mrs. Maombi, a teacher and leader of a school club, is the only women among twenty-five teachers at her school. She encourages students to report any sexual violence they encounter and sensitizes them for what to watch for. Partly because of her promotion of a safe and gender friendly school environment, the committee in charge of Mrs. Maombi’s school recently nominated her to be the headmistress of the largest institute in Walikale territory. Mrs. Maombi says she is extremely grateful for the collaboration with International Medical Corps’ Behavior Change Communication project.

Nathalie adds that, “I am proud to be a member of the school club that gave me such confidence. Any opportunity I have, I encourage my peers to never give up in similar situations and have the courage to face their parents.”

We thank you for your continued support as reach students like Nathalie and teachers like Mrs. Maombi to promote behavior change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Individual peer sensitization
Individual peer sensitization
Theater activities for International Women
Theater activities for International Women's Day
Jun 7, 2016

Chandra's Story: Receiving Physical Therapy in Nepal

Chandra can now walk with the support of a cane
Chandra can now walk with the support of a cane

In late October 2008, while celebrating Deepavali (a Nepali festival known as the “festival of lights”) with his family, 79-year-old Chandra felt a sudden loss of sensation in the right half of his body. Worried, his family rushed him to Kathmandu for treatment. The next day, Chandra found himself lying on the hospital bed, unable to move.

Chandra continued to struggle after numerous physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions in Kathmandu. “I had difficulty doing daily chores like cleaning, washing and self-grooming,” he recalls. These problems were compounded by limited mobility, which also affected Chandra psychologically, as they caused loneliness and low self-esteem.

Chandra visited International Medical Corps’ facility in Gorkha District, which provides outpatient physical therapy services. There, our trained physical therapists and nursing staff assessed and evaluated his condition, and developed a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for him. While Chandra thought he was destined to be bedridden, having completed three months of physical therapy with International Medical Corps’ staff, Chandra can walk with the support of a cane. He recalls the day he was able to walk again as one of the happiest moments of his life.

Following the 2015 earthquakes that devastated several areas of Nepal, Emergency Response Team’s surgeon Dr. Blitzer noted that, “People with complex wound problems will need care and rehabilitation for months.” In response to the ever-present need, International Medical Corps established rehabilitation and disability care services at the Gorkha District Hospital, reaching men, women and children injured by the earthquake as well as those facing long-term debilitating conditions. Today, we have reached more than 2,400 patients with physical therapy through our facility in Gorkha alone and we continue to strengthen and improve rehabilitation care in the earthquake-affected areas.

Chandra’s son, Sanjeev, recalls the day his father was able to walk again: “Early in the morning, he was strolling around the neighborhood and I could see his happy face greeting everyone because it was after a long wait that he was able to walk around independently. Now he can do his everyday activities unsupervised and loves to chat with other elderly men. I am grateful to International Medical Corps’ physical therapy team for giving my father his life back."

It is with the support of you and other generous donors that we can provide individuals with relief and recovery services like physical therapy and rehabilitation care following the earthquakes in Nepal. We thank you for your continued support. 

Photos taken by Omar Havana

Our staff created a rehab plan for Chandra
Our staff created a rehab plan for Chandra
Mobile teams reached remote quake-affected areas
Mobile teams reached remote quake-affected areas
 
   

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