Failing States, Not Forgotten People: International Medical Corps’ Commitment to the World’s Most Vulnerable Communities

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International Medical Corps welcomes The Failed States Index, an annual ranking of 178 nations based on their levels of stability and the pressures they face, published by The Fund for Peace. The index provides an opportunity to shine a spotlight on many of the world’s most neglected crises.



Several of the countries on the list, such as Afghanistan and Somalia, are well-known emergencies, regularly given significant public, media and diplomatic attention. Iraq – where International Medical Corps has worked continually since right before the outbreak of war in 2003 – is among the fastest-improving nations on the index. However, the Failed States Index also features many long-term, chronic crises which do not command international attention or funding.

Whilst the needs of vulnerable people living in places such as Chad and Central African Republic are just as pressing, the challenges of delivering lifesaving assistance and building self-reliant communities become more formidable when a crisis is neglected by international aid donors. A recent assessment by International Medical Corps found that more than 45,000 people are facing a major food crisis and require immediate assistance in the remote northeastern areas of Central African Republic. Better-known crises in the neighbouring Sahel region or in Somalia, combined with the isolation of these communities, cut off by poor roads and insecurity, can make it seem hopeless to even begin trying to help. Instead, with funding from ECHO, International Medical Corps is responding now, providing nutrition services and basic health care to those most at risk, while laying the foundations on which the government and people of CAR will one day be able build a functioning healthcare system.

Abandoning these countries as being beyond help is the surest way to guarantee they remain at the top of the Failed States Index.

An International Medical Corps supported pharmacy in rural CAR

International Medical Corps currently operates in all of the top ten most failed states on the Index, reflecting a commitment to provide immediate services, and to support and rebuild devastated health systems no matter how challenging the context. Our long experience of working in vulnerable states of all kinds provides unique insight into the needs of communities in crisis. This is why International Medical Corps is speaking out to make sure neglected crises, like those in Chad, CAR and others, cannot be ignored and that innocent families caught in the terrible reality of these emergencies are not forgotten.


International Medical Corps is Secretariat for the Health and Fragile States Network, a group of humanitarian organisation professionals and academics committed to raising awareness and speaking out on issues related to healthcare in the world’s most vulnerable nations. Recognising that functioning health care systems, with fair access for all to high quality and appropriate health care is an essential part of building stable societies, International Medical Corps prioritises training of local health professionals and supporting Ministries of Health in order to build the capacity of these countries to care for their own people over the long-term.

“In fragile states, where resources are scarce and capacity is limited, it is inevitably more complex and costly to rehabilitate health systems that have been destroyed by disaster or conflict,” says Steve Commins, Co-chair of the Health and Fragile States Network. “Yet these are the areas where the need is greatest. We must strive to move communities from relief to self-reliance, to share best practices and to believe in the potential of countries, no matter how failing they might seem today.”


You can read about our work in each of the most failed states in Where We Work 

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