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Ethiopia is one of Africa’s oldest independent nations, but severe droughts and resulting famines over several decades have had a devastating effect on Ethiopians and led to civil conflict and war with neighbouring Eritrea in the 1990s. Ethiopia remains among the world’s poorest countries with persistently high rates of child malnutrition. In 2011, the most severe drought in more than 60 years affected the Horn of Africa, driving up rates of malnutrition and creating even greater strain on Ethiopia’s fragile infrastructure as hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the famine in neighbouring Somali.


Our work in Ethiopia

International Medical Corps operates nutrition programmes in three drought-affected areas of Ethiopia. We provide technical and logistical assistance to the Ministry of Health and build the capacity of health care staff to implement Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition programmes. In August 2011, we also launched an emergency nutrition programme targeting malnourished mothers and children in the Dolo Ado refugee camps along the border with Somalia.

In addition, International Medical Corps has been implementing gender-based violence (GBV) programming in these refugee camps to provide psychosocial support and treatment for survivors of GBV.

With support from the United Nations Population Fund, our health programmes in Ethiopia focus on the maternal and reproductive health of communities in food insecure areas. International Medical Corps trains health care providers and traditional birth attendants on clean, safe delivery practices, antenatal and postnatal care, family planning, GBV prevention, adolescent reproductive health services, and treatment and management of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.


International Medical Corps administers three nutrition programmes in Ethiopia. One of our programmes employs the innovative Mother Care Group approach, whereby we train local mothers to pass on healthy nutrition practices and other useful child-rearing tips to other mothers in their communities. This preventative strategy uses the trust that already exists in community networks to help spread important messages about the nutritional value of breast feeding, and the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of disease amongst babies and children. Our goal is to stop malnutrition before it takes hold.

This programme reaches a target population of approximately 64,000 people in the Oromiya Region. We also operate emergency feeding programs, which offer therapeutic nutrition at nearly 50 dedicated care centres and provide essential nutritional support to tens of thousands of households.

Responding to the 2011 Horn of Africa drought, International Medical Corps is supporting Somali refugees in the Dolo Ado camps in Ethiopia. We are currently providing both blanket and supplementary feeding programmes, which allows us to deliver targeted care for those who are malnourished, and also protect those who are at-risk by giving them basic food items. Our engineers are also building latrines and hand-washing stations, distributing soap and jerry cans, and educating communities on the importance of hygiene.

Gender Based Violence
As refugee populations are particularly vulnerable to violence and exploitation, International Medical Corps works in Somali refugee camps in southeastern Ethiopia to both prevent new and manage existing gender-based violence (GBV) cases. Since September 2009, International Medical Corps has been providing psychosocial support to GBV survivors in Somali refugee camps and strengthening the capacity of service providers through training on basic counselling skills and psychosocial care. To date, 100% of GBV cases reported to International Medical Corps have received psychosocial support, and over 115 refugee social workers and community volunteers have been trained on survivor-centred case management.
Reproductive Health
With support from the United Nations Population Fund, International Medical Corps implements reproductive health programmes at the community level in Oromiya, Somali and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region. We have conveyed important lessons on maternal and reproductive health, including family planning, prevention of HIV/AIDS and female health care, to over 300,000 people. Our programme also includes the selection and training of local women as community health workers and health extension workers, with the goal of improving overall maternal and reproductive health services.

To improve reproductive health services in Ethiopia, International Medical Corps provides capacity building trainings to health extension workers, health care providers and traditional birth attendants. Our trainings cover clean, safe delivery practices; antenatal and postnatal care; family planning; treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; GBV prevention; and adolescent reproductive health services. We also provide reproductive health medical supplies and equipment to health facilities.



Just 22 hours after the devastating 7.0-earthquake hit in January 2010, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team was on the ground in Haiti providing medical care to survivors. Our doctors and nurses were able to mobilise on an unparalleled scale to provide 24-hour emergency care to the acutely injured at the Hôpital de l’Université d’État d’Haiti (HUEH), a 700-bed hospital in Port-au-Prince. HUEH was badly damaged in the earthquake and many local health care professionals were missing. We were able to save thousands of lives through emergency and trauma care in the critical days following the earthquake.

At the height of emergency operations at the hospital, International Medical Corps treated approximately 1,000 patients per day. Our early entry also gave us the foundation to rapidly expand our operations to 15 mobile clinics throughout Haiti to provide critical services. Through the hospital and mobile and fixed clinics, International Medical Corps teams provided more than 110,000 patient consultations during the first year following the emergency.

When reports of acute diarrhoea emerged from the north of Haiti in October 2010, International Medical Corps doctors and nurses immediately deployed to the region providing emergency relief for the growing cholera crisis. Our network of rapidly constructed cholera treatment centres, supported by 820 community health volunteers to educate communities on how to prevent and identify cholera, meant that more than 30,000 cholera patients received life-saving treatment within the first year following the outbreak.



Libya ambulanceInternational Medical Corps was among the first organisations to enter Libya once the conflict began in February 2011, providing emergency medical care to casualties from the fighting and support to hospitals with medical staff and supplies. Among the first challenges our Emergency Response Teams encountered was a chronic shortage of nurses, as thousands of foreign nurses had fled the country. In partnership with the Jordan Health Aid Society, International Medical Corps immediately deployed volunteer nurses to health centres across eastern Libya moving them to towns and cities throughout the country as access permitted. Volunteer nurses trained the local counterparts while working alongside them.

At the country’s borders and within Libya, we supplied those displaced by the fighting with essential relief items, including blankets, bottled water and food. Recognising the danger posed by communicable diseases, our sanitation and hygiene specialists constructed latrines and washing stations in transit camps along the Tunisia borders.

Libya 5As the fighting went on International Medical Corps worked as close to the front line as possible, providing emergency treatment to those injured in the conflict, and medicines and supplies to besieged towns and cities. In Misurata, inaccessible by road, we evacuated nearly 500 injured civilians by boat. International Medical Corps’ mobile field hospitals treated the wounded from battles in Tripoli, the Western Mountains, Bani Walid, Sabha, Jufrah and Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.



Mali - villagerInternational Medical Corps mobilized an emergency response in Mali in January 2013 after rebel armed forces from the north began moving south, triggering French military intervention. In Timbuktu, which had spent months under the control of armed Islamist rebel our team were amongst the first international organisations to arrive and found pillaged clinics, missing medical personnel and damaged health infrastructure.

We immediately began supporting eight strategically targeted health clinics in remote areas around Timbuktu, where the Malian Ministry of Health has been unable to maintain adequate services to local communities. By providing medicines, training staff and recruiting qualified doctors and nurses, we can ensure local people will now have access to basic primary and secondary health care for the first time in months

Mali-Road-to-TimbuktuTrue to our mission to build self reliance, International Medical Corps is also already training community health workers to go out to local markets and spread essential hygiene, reproductive health and nutrition messages. We are also working to rehabilitate clinics damaged during the conflict, by building or repairing latrines, water systems, solar panel systems and other infrastructure repairs, enabling health workers to have stable and well-equipped facilities to help the people of Mali.


Basanti & Bishal's story

Basanti, a young mother of two in Nepal, returned home from fetching water for her family to find her 8-month old son Bishal had fallen into the open cooking fire. Basanti was in shock, but she wrapped her baby in blankets and ran for help. No one in their village or at the local health post knew what to do so she had to travel more than six hours by bus to seek emergency care at the closest hospital. The district hospital could only stabilize Bishal and wasn’t able to treat his wounds properly. As a result, his little fingers contracted into a fist as the burned skin contracted and “healed” over the coming year, making it impossible for him to use his hand. His cheek, lips and eyelid also contracted and tightened, threatening his vision.

After selling part of their farm to pay for transportation to Kathmandu, Basanti sought further treatment for her baby. However, two hospitals in the nation’s capital could not help either. Adding to Basanti’s struggles, her husband abandoned the family, leaving her alone to care for Bishal and his four-year-old sister.

Thankfully, Basanti heard about the surgical care available through ReSurge International, our trusted partner with a 43-year history of serving burn victims. Dr. Rai, ReSurge’s Outreach Director in Nepal, and his team restored Bishal’s eyelid and his hand will soon be surgically repaired as well.

Even though it took more than a year for him to get appropriate treatment, Bishal is one of the lucky ones. Thousands of children never get the care they need to live a normal life after a disabling burn.


Our impact through training in 2012



Our Mother Care Group Approach


Read more about our community based approach to prevention and treatment of malnutrition