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Libya

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2011 was a traumatic, terrifying but ultimately liberating year for the people of Libya as an armed uprising became a nationwide conflict which brought an end to Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s 42 year long dictatorship. Official estimates suggest up to 30,000 people were killed during the conflict with nearly 800,000 people fleeing across borders into neighbouring countries. Years of underinvestment in Libya’s health system, coupled with thousands of injuries from the war continue to place a heavy burden on the nation’s health infrastructure.

Throughout the conflict communities faced shortages of food, water, fuel, electricity and access to adequate health care. Health facilities were stretched to their limits, while supply chains for medications and medical supplies were cut and large numbers of foreign nurses departed the country, leaving facilities with urgent shortages of these critical staff and medical supplies.

 

Our work in Libya

International Medical Corps was among the first respondents to the crisis in Libya arriving within days of the uprising in Benghazi. As access permitted and needs were identified International Medical Corps teams expanded activities in a country-wide response, ultimately deploying 267 doctors & nurses and providing more than 95,000 medical consultations. We were also active in the Egyptian and Tunisian border regions that received large numbers of Libyans and third country nationals fleeing the violence.

As the conflict has now ended, the country is on the path to rebuilding. International Medical Corps has remained in Libya, shifting its programmes from emergency services to longer term projects aimed at supporting efforts to eliminate major gaps in health care and restore the necessary infrastructure. To do this, International Medical Corps is working with the Libyan health sector to address the primary health, mental health and rehabilitation needs of a country emerging from war.

 

Primary Health Care & Nursing Support
As part of the emergency response, International Medical Corps’ team of health specialists supported primary health care through 15 clinics across Libya, training a range of health professionals and strengthening local health capacity. Today, International Medical Corps is focusing its efforts on filling staffing gaps in nursing throughout the country, caused partly by the departure of many foreign nurses, which comprised the backbone of the nursing staff. International Medical Corps is working to develop national nursing capacity through increasing the number of qualified foreign nurses, as well as providing on the job training and lectures to local nursing personnel to increase their skills.
Rehabilitation Support
As many suffered war-related injuries, rehabilitation services for the disabled have been identified as a critical health need in Libya. International Medical Corps is working to support rehabilitation centres throughout Libya, both through the provision of much needed equipment, as well as in depth training for physiotherapists and nurses. Trainings have included issues of trauma and rehabilitation, and multi-disciplinary enhanced recovery techniques.
Addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV) & Protection

International Medical Corps is taking a multi-sectoral approach to address GBV through integrating services into existing programmes. International Medical Corps is training local health workers in the prevention and response to GBV. In addition, International Medical Corps is working to increase awareness within the general population and local and government institutions.

International Medical Corps is also working to support the Ministry of Social Affairs to improve access to social welfare services for children and families at risk of or exposed to violence. This is being implemented through the establishment of clear training curricula and procedural guidelines for social workers.

Mental Health & Psychosocial Training
In addition to the physical wounds of war, many Libyans are also facing long-term psychological distress related to the conflict. With a broken health infrastructure and cultural stigma towards mental health needs, many are suffering from a lack of access to services. To address this need, International Medical Corps is training local health workers throughout Libya in Psychological First Aid. Mental health services have also been integrated into all of International Medical Corps’s programmes delivering primary health care. 

 

Emergency Response
International Medical Corps was among the first organisations to enter Libya once the conflict began, 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 for safety. In partnership with the Jordan Health Aid Society, International Medical Corps immediately deployed volunteer nurses to health centres across eastern Libya and rapidly mobilised them to major population centres throughout the country as access permitted. Volunteer nurses trained the local counterparts while working alongside them; a key programme activity that continues today.

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.

As the weeks and months of fighting passed 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.

 

Our Donors

International Medical Corps UK recognises the invaluable support of the following European donors to make our work possible.

 

Primary Health Care & Nursing Support

 

Haiti

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.

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Libya

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.

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Mali

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.

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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.

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Our impact through training in 2012

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Our Mother Care Group Approach

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

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