International Medical Corps currently operates in many fragile states which comprise more than 1.1 billion people (approximately 15% of the world’s population) living in over 40 countries. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Fragile States Group employs a concept of fragile states as suffering “deficits in governance” creating “conditions that make development difficult.” In such states, there is a lack of ability or willingness to “establish pre-conditions for long-term development”; prevailing conditions are “too fluid and too risky to make savings and long-term investment attractive”; “society focuses on the near-term and securing its most basic needs”, sometimes through “creative local solutions”.
Fragile states, where half of all child deaths and a third of all maternal deaths occur, are at great risk for falling short of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 without significant progress. People living in fragile states are more likely to suffer ill health and die prematurely. Since the prospects for even proximately achieving Millennium Development Goals by 2015 are dire without significant progress in fragile states, the value of both International Medical Corps’ integrated approach to community well-being and our emphasis on “capacity building” are critical.
International Medical Corps has a lead role in addressing health care issues in fragile states as a co-chair of the InterAction Health in Crisis Working Group and our role as the Secretariat for the Health and Fragile States Network.