To make our relief efforts sustainable, International Medical Corps trains Chadians and Sudanese refugees to fulfill the following roles in local programs:
- Traditional birth attendants educate women about the importance of prenatal and antenatal care and encourage pregnant women to go to the health facility to help ensure clean, safe deliveries for Chadian and refugee mothers and their babies.
- Health care workers provide nutritional support and deliver primary health care through International Medical Corps-supported health posts, mobile clinics, and health centers.
- Community health workers educate their peers about basic health topics, such as preventing the spread of diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
With national citizens serving as active members in our programs, International Medical Corps helps to strengthen local capacity by providing the jobs, as well as the skills, needed to improve long-term quality of life. In addition to basic job training, all International Medical Corps staff members receive specialized trainings as well as on-the-job supervision and guidance to continue their health education.
A severe food crisis continues to affect millions across the Sahel in Niger, Chad, Mali, and Nigeria. Operating in the Ouaddai and Salamat regions at the heart of the Sahel region of Chad, International Medical Corps has been rapidly scaling up our nutrition and food security programs to meet the sharply increasing needs of crisis-affected communities.
Since 2012, International Medical Corps has been working in the Lac Region, and is supporting 21 health centers and two hospitals. A network of community health workers conduct outreach activities, including screening for acute malnutrition, referring community members to local health facilities, and delivering important health and nutrition messages. In tandem, International Medical Corps supports a cohort of peer mothers who meet regularly to receive education and training in identifying and preventing childhood malnutrition in their communities.
International Medical Corps recognizes that a more integrated and preventive approach is needed to build resilience to malnutrition, addressing all causes, not just the shortages of food. As such, we are also working on preventing child malnutrition through promotion of breastfeeding, use of food supplementation, education on proper weaning of children and healthy birth spacing. We are also implementing community gardens and community education campaigns to increase knowledge on the root causes of malnutrition.
By putting children at the core of International Medical Corps’ programs, we not only lift health levels, but also help create the kind of stable, confident societies that can chart their own futures. At the Mile and Kounougou refugee camps in Eastern Chad, our team administered vaccinations to children under five who had not been previously vaccinated for measles. Community health workers also educated the public on how vaccinations work and why they are so important. By providing training and education to local members of the refugee community International Medical Corps strengthened local capacity and helped participating communities become increasingly self-reliant.
The Lac Region is particularly prone to infectious diseases like cholera. In October 2014, International Medical Corps responded to the cholera outbreak in the Lac Region, working in partnership with local health authorities. As soon as the first cases were identified, International Medical Corps coordinated with other partners in the region to conduct sensitization campaigns led by community health workers, to identify and treat water points, and to provide the Ministry of Health on cholera case management. Due to these coordinated efforts, a potentially devastating outbreak was averted.