Emergency Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

by International Medical Corps
Emergency Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Rebecca, one of our volunteer vaccinators, at KCHC
Rebecca, one of our volunteer vaccinators, at KCHC

International Medical Corps has been responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic since February 2020. Now, in addition to providing personal protective equipment, training frontline health workers and treating COVID-19 patients, our teams are supporting government and local agencies to implement successful vaccination campaigns in the United States and around the world.

At Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles, exactly one year from deploying initially to combat COVID-19, we deployed additional medical field units and mobile units to support the community hospital's vaccination efforts. At Kedren Community Health Center, our volunteer medical teams have been providing an average of 1,000 vaccines per day.

According to Maureen, one of our volunteer vaccinators at Kedren Community Health Center and a recently retired emergency department nurse from UC Irvine Medical Center, “It’s nice to be on the other side, to be on the preventive side of this awful pandemic. And I’m so grateful to be giving vaccines. It’s so exciting, because people are happy. They’re not complaining. They’re excited to get this vaccine, because they know it’s part of the recovery process. There’s hope now.”

Between March 1 and May 8, 2021, International Medical Corps has supported 130,829 vaccine doses at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital and Kedren Community Health Center, including 91,580 vaccine doses administered by our team of volunteers.

Some 7,500 miles away, in Jordan, our teams are playing a central role in coordinating vaccination efforts for Syrian refugees residing in Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps. In partnership with the Jordanian Ministry of Health and the United Nations, our teams are identifying and registering refugees based on vulnerability, addressing vaccine hesitancy through awareness-raising activities, transporting patients to vaccine sites, conducting post-vaccine observation, ensuring refugees receive the second dose and providing any health support needed. As of April 26, our teams have supported the administration of more than 5,200 vaccine doses in Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps.

While the vaccine rollout is just beginning in many countries, thanks to the support of the GlobalGiving community and other donors, International Medical Corps’ teams are prepared to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts around the world.

In Jordan, we transport refugees to vaccine sites
In Jordan, we transport refugees to vaccine sites
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
COVID-19 patients receive antibody transfusions
COVID-19 patients receive antibody transfusions

When COVID-19 shook our world in the spring of 2020, the medical community had to scramble to catch up. In those urgent early days, as states across the US struggled to assemble mass testing sites, hospitals coped with staggeringly high patient loads. As part of our biggest emergency response to date, International Medical Corps deployed 33 emergency medical field units across the US to give underserved, overwhelmed hospitals the extra space they needed to serve critical COVID patients.

Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago received one of these medical tents from International Medical Corps in May. The hospital, located in the thick of urban Chicago in a gentrifying community that hosts a significant homeless and underinsured population, was hit hard by COVID-19 in the spring due to the large number of nursing homes in the area. “We had no bed availability at all and had to open up portions of the hospital that would normally not house patients,” says Dr. Suzanne, Weiss’s COVID-19 medical director. She explains, “Functioning at full capacity for two months straight was very, very hard on our hospital.”

The donation from International Medical Corps proved to be “a tremendous help” in providing extra capacity, both because of the additional space the tent provided and the accompanying materials that made it fully operational, such as cots, monitoring equipment, HEPA filters and more.

“As a small community hospital, I just didn't think that we would ever get this sort of attention. But because of International Medical Corps’ support, we have finally been able to provide the higher standard of care that I always wanted for our patients,” says Dr. Suzanne.

The tent started off as a safe environment for COVID testing, but by the end of November had transformed into an area used for infusions of a recently approved treatment: monoclonal antibodies known as Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab/Imdevimab. The “most effective COVID-19 prevention measure we’ve seen to date” according to Dr. Suzanne, these antibodies contain a manufactured protein designed to impede the spike protein of COVID-19, suppressing the virus’s ability to replicate. “Every patient that we have infused has done quite well,” says Dr. Suzanne. “I call them 48 hours after the infusion and 100% have said, ‘I feel dramatically better.’”

Weiss was the first hospital in Chicago to be able to do the infusions, which Dr. Suzanne credits to having the International Medical Corps tent. She reports that the other hospitals in the area that received antibodies from the federal government are still trying to figure out how to safely bring known COVID-positive patients into their environments to give them the antibodies. “But for us, it was just seamless, because we had a dedicated environment already ready to go,” says Dr. Suzanne. “We are so proud that we’ve been able to be the first hospital in Chicago to do this—and it absolutely was only because of the donation.”

Dr. Suzanne’s gratitude for the support from International Medical Corps stems in large part from the absolute exhaustion she and her colleagues feel serving on the frontlines of this pandemic. “The first surge was very, very tough for the entire medical community at large because we didn’t know what we were dealing with and everyone was afraid for their patients, seeing them progress so rapidly and not knowing how to help them,” she says. “That emotional impact, coupled with the physical toll, led many people to step away from medicine during that time, leaving more responsibility on the shoulders of those who did remain actively at the bedside caring for COVID patients,” she continued.

Dr. Suzanne feels the hospital is much more prepared to respond, thanks to its partnership with International Medical Corps. “This partnership is something that I’ve come to really cherish, and it’s helped me feel hope that—by having organizations like International Medical Corps partner with our hospital—we can really help so many people get through this,” she says. “And now, having the antibody infusions as a way to prevent the need for hospitalization, I see even more light at the end of the tunnel here.”

Thanks to the generosity of the GlobalGiving Community and other donors, International Medical Corps continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and around the world.

Our team sets up a tent at Weiss Memorial Hospital
Our team sets up a tent at Weiss Memorial Hospital
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Misra raising awareness of COVID-19
Misra raising awareness of COVID-19

The first case of COVID-19 in Cameroon was reported on March 6, 2020. In April, a young Cameroonian named Misra joined International Medical Corps as a Community Health Worker at Timangolo refugee camp. Her job: to raise awareness of the virus and change community behavior to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Just like the rest of the world, the local community in Timangolo has had to adapt. "Before COVID-19, the refugee community observed Fulani cultural practices, such as shaking hands during greetings, using 'boutas' kettles during daily prayers and gathering during funerals, baptisms and meals," Misra explains. "My colleagues and I worked to educate the community on handwashing with soap, social distancing, mask wearing, and coughing or sneezing into one’s elbow."

Misra feels she is making a difference. "We have noticed a change in behavior. For example, people wear masks when they go out now, and the elderly do not go out as much as before," she says. "Community members have come to understand that if the barrier measures are not respected, they can end up contracting the disease if they come into contact with a sick person. All of these things are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Timangolo."

"I feel proud," Misra says, "because the refugee community understands that the messages we share are not intended for them to abandon what is dear to them—it is simply a means to protect them."

Misra's success is an example of how training can save lives.

International Medical Corps is carrying out COVID-19 awareness raising activities, like those in Cameroon, and more in the some 30 countries where we operate.

As of September 18, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard, there have been more than 30 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 946,000 deaths globally. International Medical Corps launched an immediate response to the pandemic, and have since screened more than 920,821 people for COVID-19, distributed more than 11.6 million pieces of personal protective equipment and trained more than 12,281 frontline healthcare workers on COVID-19 prevention and control measures around the world.

Thanks to the support from the GlobalGiving community, our teams can continue to work with healthcare leaders, like Misra, to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic and provide lifesaving services around the world.

The community now practices social distancing
The community now practices social distancing
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
First case emerges a survivor in South Sudan.
First case emerges a survivor in South Sudan.

COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe. According to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard, as of the end of May, there have been more than 5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some 350,000 related deaths reported in 188 countries and regions.

To help bring this pandemic to an end as quickly as possible, International Medical Corps is supporting global healthcare worker safety in the countries where we provide services. We are leveraging our 35 years of experience and the knowledge of our epidemiologists from the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the 2003 SARS outbreaks, and infectious disease response efforts to ensure at-risk countries and regions are best able to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.

As of May 5, our teams had screened 202,317 individuals for COVID-19 at our global missions and had distributed more than 2.6 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to supported health facilities. Additionally, we had trained over 8,000 frontline healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and control measures and reached some 437,000 people with communications on how to reduce risk.

In the United States, International Medical Corps is coordinating with more than 20 hospitals to ensure that we are meeting the greatest needs in Los Angeles, New York City, Puerto Rico, Chicago and Detroit.

In New York City, in an interview with NPR on April 9, 2020, Susan Mangicaro RN, our COVID-19 Team Lead, stated that, “This is really unprecedented compared to anything I’ve ever seen. Our healthcare systems are overloaded and overburdened. The staff [are] struggling with being able to meet the needs of the patient. [We are] making choices we should never have to make.

You can listen to the rest of the interview here.

In Lebanon, thanks to the help of donors like the GlobalGiving community, International Medical Corps has provided some 80,200 PPE and IPC items, including gloves, waterproof overalls and soap, to healthcare centers in Lebanon, and provided training on infection prevention and control and the use of PPE to some 46 health workers so far.

Nafous, a Health Outreach Volunteer in Lebanon tells us that, “The COVID-19 trainings I attended with International Medical Corps were very useful and valuable. They included comprehensive information on safety guidelines and infection control precautions, which I didn’t know before.

The donated PPE and IPC items are helping Nafous perform her work safely: “The personal protective equipment supplied by International Medical Corps has encouraged me to conduct field visits to primary healthcare centers due to the feeling of safety they give me, which enables me to encourage beneficiaries to visit healthcare centers and seek health services.

For more information on our global response, please visit: https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/emergency-response/covid-19/

We thank the GlobalGiving community for continuing to support our global emergency response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nafous, Health Outreach Volunteer in Lebanon.
Nafous, Health Outreach Volunteer in Lebanon.
Temporary medical shelter in Los Angeles.
Temporary medical shelter in Los Angeles.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

International Medical Corps

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Project Leader:
Kimberly Laney
Los Angeles, CA United States
$7,018 raised of $25,000 goal
88 donations
$17,982 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

International Medical Corps has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.