International Medical Corps works to help vulnerable communities worldwide prevent and respond to communicable diseases, including COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and mental disorders.
More than 1 billion people each year are affected by infectious diseases—including neglected tropical illnesses that thrive in impoverished and marginalized communities, in conflict zones and the overcrowded conditions that so often prevail in settlements for refugees and the internally displaced. In such places, poor sanitation, limited access to safe drinking water and often-inadequate health services combine to make conditions ideal for outbreaks of disease.
In Africa, infectious diseases remain a leading cause of illness and death. Elsewhere, it is non-communicable disease that has become the main causes of illness and death, quietly thriving with none of the drama of attention-getting epidemics and emergency vaccination campaigns.
A significant number of International Medical Corps’ responses have included technical assistance for the treatment and control of epidemic diseases. Our staff of more than 7,500 worldwide includes physicians and public health specialists who coordinate global health responses and engage in pandemic preparedness activities.
Our goals at International Medical Corps include the following:
- Improve epidemiological surveillance, prevention and response to epidemic-prone diseases.
- Contribute to health security and protection of public health.
- Contribute to the global goal of zero new HIV infections in newborns.
- Education and inform populations on disease control measures.
- Working with community partners to end practices that contribute to the spread of disease.
At International Medical Corps, disease control is at the forefront of our work. Whether responding to the refugee crisis in and around Syria or earthquakes in Nepal or Haiti, it is always a priority. With the West African Ebola outbreaks of 2014–2016, for example, our disease control strategies were put to the test. As one of the few NGOs to treat patients who contracted the Ebola virus, we employed a staff of 1,500 in five separate treatment units who cared for more than 460 Ebola-positive patients. In addition, we screened nearly 400,000 people for Ebola at some 30 screening-and-referral centers. We also trained local organizations and community residents about how to combat Ebola and detect future outbreaks. After the epidemic was over, International Medical Corps remained, providing further health and psychosocial support, and helping to strengthen health systems to prevent further epidemics.
More than half of adult refugees have a chronic non-communicable disease
In 2020, International Medical Corps administered almost 252,399 doses of measles vaccine and and 221,882 doses of DPT-3 vaccine
We maintain a strong program to counter neglected tropical diseases, such as African sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), river blindness (onchocerciasis), and Guinea worm (dracunculiasis)