In 1984, a simple idea drove International Medical Corps’ first relief mission—give local people the tools and knowledge to help themselves and the investment can sustain development beyond an existing crisis. More than a quarter of a century later, that once-groundbreaking idea of building the capacity of communities to tend to their own health care needs is accepted as a culturally appropriate, economically efficient, and politically stabilizing way to deliver assistance. It remains the signature component of every International Medical Corps program—even in the world’s toughest environments.
Throughout our global operations we remain committed to the following principles:
Humanity: International Medical Corps addresses human suffering wherever it is found. Our humanitarian actions protect life, health and respect for human beings.
Neutrality: International Medical Corps does not take sides in a conflict or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
Impartiality: International Medical Corps humanitarian actions are based on need and prioritize the most urgent cases of distress. We make no distinctions about need on the basis of nationality, race, gender, religious belief, class or political viewpoint.
Operational Independence: International Medical Corps humanitarian actions are entirely autonomous of any political, economic, military or other objectives of its donors or other actors with an interest in the areas where our work is implemented.
International Medical Corps focuses on the delivery of community-based primary health care. We emphasize training and education, and prioritize hiring local staff – in fact, 96% of our field-based staff and health professionals are recruited from the local community. This helps to ensure that skills and knowledge are passed on and remain long after our programs have ended. Through the integration of specialties like emergency medicine, women’s health, nutrition services, water and sanitation, and mental health into the primary health care setting, we ensure that those we serve receive holistic, comprehensive care. The value of International Medical Corps’ integrated approach to community health and well-being and our emphasis on capacity building through training are critical for the long-term growth of conflict and natural disaster-affected communities and fragile states.
Within the foundation of primary health care delivery, we have developed the following program priorities: