The challenges and our reponse
International Medical Corps is currently working in the second year of a five-year humanitarian assistance project in Gaza, leading a consortium partnership with three other organisations, CARE, Mercy Corps, and the Palestinian group, Juzoor for Health and Social Development—each bringing specific expertise to the project.
The project, entitled Gaza 2020: Health Matters, intends to strengthen emergency preparedness and response capabilities of local non-governmental (NGO) organisations and community-based organisations (CBOs), as well as to improve access and availability of quality primary and secondary health care for all residents of Gaza. Under primary health, International Medical Corps supports NGOs and CBOs in the mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), community-based rehabilitation, non-communicable diseases and nutrition sectors.
Gaza’s population of 1.8 million reside in a politically tense 25-mile long, 6-mile wide strip of land that has passed from Egyptian to Israeli to Palestinian administrative control within 60 years. Israeli authorities continue to maintain tight control of Gaza’s borders as the long-running Israeli-Palestinian dispute exacerbates development efforts. International Medical Corps has worked in Gaza since 2008, providing emergency medical, mental health and psychosocial assistance.
As the first program of its kind in Gaza, “Gaza 2020: Health Matters” strengthens non-governmental (NGO) and community-based (CBO) health organisations to increase access to and improve the quality of health services in Gaza. Currently funded through USAID’s Humanitarian Assistance Package, Health Matters is implemented through an International Medical Corps-led consortium that includes CARE, Mercy Corps and a local organisation called Juzoor. The Consortium brings together varied expertise for a holistic program that is gender-sensitive, responsive to crisis and reflects the different needs of men, women, boys, girls and vulnerable persons in Gaza. The program addresses gaps in Gaza’s current health system with a focus on primary and secondary health, nutrition, mental health and community-based rehabilitation. Our current work includes:
Emergency Preparedness and Response: To address the project’s Emergency Preparedness and Response component, we are coordinating with key emergency response groups in Gaza such as the World Health Organisation as well as other NGOs and project-supported partners to ensure preparedness for a coordinated emergency response. International Medical Corps has worked to develop health messaging for distribution in the event of an emergency. Additionally, we have developed a contingency plan delineating our level of support to consortium and primary health care partners.
Logistics: Completing the first round of distributing customised Emergency Health Kits (EHKs) to local partners, ensuring they have pre-positioned medical supplies ready to use in the event of an emergency. We also address project-related gaps in the local health system, both in emergency and non-emergency conditions. Such gaps include, safe childbirth during emergencies, improving infection prevention and control, strengthening mobile medical teams, improving post-operative care and developing a thematic concept for breast cancer.
Training: Providing and coordinating trainings as the lead partner on the Gaza 2020: Health Matters, project. We and our consortium partners provide training to local primary health care groups with whom we maintain memorandums of understanding. The goal or our work is to strengthen local partners in different technical and program management areas, including logistics and warehouse management.