International Medical Corps was established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses to address the critical need for medical care in war-torn Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. Over the decades, in the face of continued conflict, we have remained, delivering medical care, healthcare-related services and training, as Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most complex humanitarian emergencies.
Today in Afghanistan, 18 million people—a number that equals roughly half the population and includes about 10 million children—rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival. One-third are food-insecure, and more than half of all children under 5 are at risk of acute malnutrition. The country has some of the world’s highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates, due to a widespread lack of access to adequate healthcare and nutrition. A severe drought—the second in four years—will make the current situation even worse.
As of 2020, an estimated 3.5 million Afghans were displaced within their own country—and that number has only grown since then, with at least 550,000 additional people internally displaced since January 2021, due to the battle for control of the government. In addition to political unrest, recurring natural hazards—such as avalanches, earthquakes, flooding and landslides—exacerbate the situation. The combination of the volatile security situation and frequent natural disasters make it difficult to reach populations in need.
In the midst of these problems, health facilities remain a common target of violence, resulting in the suspension of services in a number of locations. Yet our staff—the vast majority of whom are hired locally—continue working throughout the country to improve the quality of life and health status of those we serve by providing medical services and training.