Tonight during the President’s annual State of the Union Address, Dr. Pranav Shetty, International Medical Corps’ Global Emergency Health Coordinator, had the honor of sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama and hearing President Barak Obama recognize the efforts of health care workers who are helping combat Ebola in West Africa.
“In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and healthcare workers are rolling back Ebola — saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease. I couldn’t be prouder of them…” said President Obama. “But the job is not yet done — and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty.”
“The United States government has been a strong supporter of our work, and it was truly an honor to be recognized by the President and First Lady and be recognized on behalf of tens of thousands of nurses, doctors, burial team workers, and others who are tirelessly working to save lives in West Africa,” said Dr. Shetty. “International Medical Corps is one of the few international organizations treating Ebola patients in West Africa, but we are also focused on building local health care capacity so medical professionals across the region can become their own first responders—to not only prevent and treat Ebola but also other illnesses.”
International Medical Corps is currently operating four Ebola treatment centers in West Africa – two in Liberia and two in Sierra Leone – that have discharged a combined 113 survivors to date. These centers provide Ebola patients with not only isolation and health care but also psychosocial support, which is a critical element in recovery. To expand the pool of health workers capable of managing and working in Ebola treatment centers across the region, International Medical Corps is providing hands-on, in-depth training for local officials and local health care workers, as well as for international and non-governmental organizations.
International Medical Corps has also deployed an Emergency Response Team to Guinea to construct and operate an Ebola treatment center and another team to Mali to help develop a training program for local first responders. To address the longer-term challenges in West Africa, International Medical Corps is focused on helping lift the overall level of health care in West Africa. The recently established permanent training center for health workers located in the city of Lunsar in Sierra Leone is just one example of this effort.
In total, International Medical Corps has approximately 1,130 staff working on the ground in West Africa on the Ebola response, including over 980 local staff and nearly 150 international staff. International Medical Corps’ Ebola response effort in West Africa is funded by a diverse group of donors including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.K. Department for International Development, E.U. Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, and Irish Aid, as well as many individual, corporate, and foundation supporters.
About Dr. Pranav Shetty
Dr. Pranav Shetty is currently International Medical Corps’ Global Emergency Health Coordinator. As the initial health technical lead for International Medical Corps’ major emergency response operations worldwide, he is often one of the first to deploy to the affected area in the aftermath of a disaster or crisis.
In August 2014, Dr. Shetty was deployed by International Medical Corps to Liberia to establish and oversee two Ebola treatment units, which have now discharged over 80 survivors of the deadly illness. In addition, Dr. Shetty managed teams of rapid responders that deploy to Ebola hot spots in Liberia and a training center for local and international health care workers who are now working on the frontlines of the Ebola response effort across the region. Dr. Shetty arrived back in the U.S. in December and will return to West Africa later this week to help establish International Medical Corps’ first Ebola treatment center in Guinea.
Prior to his work on the Ebola response, Dr. Shetty managed programs assisting affected Syrian populations, and he helped establish health care programs to support displaced populations in Iraq in 2014. Dr. Shetty was deployed to the Philippines in 2013 to treat patients and manage International Medical Corps’ programs in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, and he was also deployed to Misurata, Libya in 2011, where he trained emergency medics and treated patients in a field hospital just a few miles from the front lines of the conflict.
Dr. Shetty received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, completed his residency in emergency medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and completed a fellowship in Global Health and International Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland. He received his Masters of Public Health from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. He has worked at International Medical Corps since 2011. Dr. Shetty and his wife Nora reside in Arlington, Virginia.