February 26, 2014 - International Medical Corps was on the ground in the Philippines within 24 hours of Typhoon Haiyan, which left widespread devastation affecting an estimated 16 million people. Our teams provided a comprehensive emergency response, delivering 14,625 health consultations in the first 6 weeks alone. International Medical Corps was able to reach remote communities cut off from health care and basic services by rapidly implementing a network of mobile medical units. Comprised of local and international doctors and nurses, our medical teams collaborated with the Philippine Department of Health and humanitarian partners on the ground to offer primary and emergency care; mental health and psychosocial support; nutrition screenings for children under five; and reproductive health support. Today, International Medical Corps is still addressing critical needs in the Philippines with a long-term approach to rebuilding affected communities and helping them become their own best First Responders.
Since the end of December 2013, International Medical Corps has established four programs in the areas of: nutrition, health, mental health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). We are currently working in 17 municipalities in Leyte Province, covering underserved, rural and semi-rural communities.
International Medical Corps is working with UNICEF and the World Food Program in 11 municipalities to implement programs that manage and treat acute malnutrition through targeted and blanket supplementary feeding, as well as promote infant and young child feeding. International Medical Corps teams have screened nearly 12,900 children for acute malnutrition, in addition to distributing supplemental foods and establishing in- and out-patient treatment centers. In collaboration with UNICEF, we also trained local medical professionals on screening children under 5 for malnutrition.
Health & Capacity Strengthening
In the Philippines and around the world, International Medical Corps aims to strengthen the capacity of local health staff to respond to the medical needs of their own communities. We are implementing trainings in 7 municipalities to prevent disease outbreaks and promote reproductive and maternal health. International Medical Corps has already contributed to training over 200 primary care providers on these topics. We also trained 11 people on SPEED (Surveillance in Post Emergency and Extreme Disasters).
International Medical Corps will also work to rehabilitate and repair two rural health units that were severely damaged by the storm. In addition, we are providing medicines and replacing medical equipment and supplies that were lost or destroyed in the typhoon.
In response to the significant mental health needs that have developed in the wake of the storm, International Medical Corps is training and supervising primary health workers in nine municipalities to identify and manage priority mental health conditions according to national and global WHO guidelines. This training program complements a broader effort to promote mental and psychological well-being, and aims to include sensitization trainings of over 600 community leaders to develop local response systems for caring for individuals with mental illness. Furthermore, International Medical Corps trained national doctors and nurses in Roxas on Psychological First Aid, which gives the skills necessary to support survivors immediately following extremely stressful events.
The typhoon caused large-scale damage to local water and sanitation infrastructure, which in turn threatens the health status of vulnerable communities – particularly children. Schools were especially affected and lack of adequate WASH facilities puts students at risk of communicable diseases. To respond to this need, International Medical Corps is repairing or replacing damaged toilets and hand-washing systems in over 100 local schools. In addition, International Medical Corps hygiene promoters have taught over 4,000 students basic hygiene guidelines, better preparing them to protect and maintain their own health. Over 6 months of implementation, this program will reach over 30,000 school children with improved WASH services.