As a global first responder with more than 35 years of experience delivering emergency relief in difficult environments, International Medical Corps is ready to respond immediately when disaster strikes. Now, with a healthcare system facing significant challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and domestic resources stretched as hurricane seasons have intensified in recent years, International Medical Corps is working more closely than ever before with healthcare systems and state agencies throughout the United States to help them respond to disease, disaster and their aftermath.
As part of our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deploying emergency medical field units, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies, and volunteer clinicians to overburdened hospitals throughout the United States. We’re also providing training, both in person and through our online COVID-19 Learning Series.
International Medical Corps also has worked with Florida’s Department of Health and the Florida Association of Community Health Centers to develop additional preparedness programming for hurricane seasons, including the following:
- We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Florida Department of Health saying that, in an emergency, we would support the medical needs of shelter residents and extend medical care into the hardest-hit areas, leveraging such assets as our mobile field hospital.
- We agreed to provide training to community health centers across the state on emerging infectious diseases and infection-control prevention measures, to help local communities better manage the public health emergencies and diseases that frequently occur following a natural disaster. We are providing similar training in North Carolina.
In 2018, we responded in North Carolina and Florida to help communities affected by Hurricane Florence in September and Hurricane Michael in October. After the storm, we continued to help residents in the Florida Panhandle by setting up and outfitting temporary clinics for PanCare Health in Marianna and Panama City. And we supported thousands in Florida who were affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which cut a path of destruction through the Caribbean in September 2017.
For example, in and around Fort Myers on the Gulf coast, we worked with a local network of 30 clinics that reach 80,000 underserved men, women and children. In the Miami/Dade County areas on the Atlantic coast, we provided no-cost medicines to a network of clinics that serve vulnerable families, ensuring that they continue to receive care for chronic diseases like diabetes, and easing their financial burden as they recover and rebuild in the wake of the storms. In the immediate aftermath of the 2017 storms, with many clinic staff members displaced from their homes, International Medical Corps provided sanitation facilities enabling them to return to work. We also helped restore power to a clinic in Bonita Springs that serves some 30,000 people.