FamilyCommunityHealth

Women’s and Children’s Health

International Medical Corps considers women’s and children’s health a key priority for healthy communities. Because women constitute the foundation of both families and communities, their well-being is essential for the success of those around them. Protecting that well-being is a central challenge of Women and Children’s Health.

International Medical Corps works to improve the health of expectant mothers by offering services, including family planning, delivery by skilled birth attendants and quality care for obstetric and newborn emergencies. We also promote healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. Over 220 million women worldwide want to delay or avoid a pregnancy but are unable to practice family planning because they lack the access. When a woman dies in childbirth, her surviving children are ten times more likely to die within two years than those whose mother remains in the home. And among adolescent girls, about 70,000 deaths occur every year due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth.

Globally, up to 80% of internally displaced people and refugees are women and children. In times of crisis, when the traditional social codes protecting women can easily break down, women and children become more vulnerable to abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. We offer culturally appropriate services for gender based violence and work to reduce forms of violence rooted in gender discrimination.

QUICK FACTS

  • We have administered programs on Women and Children’s Health in over 70 countries on five continents since 1984.

AREAS OF FOCUS

  • Sexual and Reproductive Health in Emergencies
  • Maternal and Newborn Health READ MORE >
  • Child Health
  • Family Planning
  • Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Gender-based Violence: READ MORE >

Globally, up to 80% of internally displaced people and refugees are women and children.

STORY FROM THE FIELD

Saving Korto and Josephine

Korto was admitted to International Medical Corps’ Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in late November, while her four-month old daughter Josephine, who tested negative for Ebola, was cared for nearby. The whole medical team couldn’t help but believe she was going to make it and see her daughter again.

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SOCIAL CAMPAIGN

#BumpDay

Overwhelming challenges can make pregnancy and childbirth perilous for too many moms and babies around the world. Join us as we celebrate BumpDay and promote healthy pregnancies and beautiful bumps around the world, because healthy futures start with healthy beginnings.


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Gender-based Violence

GBV at a Glance

Throughout the world, violence against women is a pervasive public health and human rights issue, affecting the physical and mental health of women and girls and tearing families and communities apart. Worldwide, one in three women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some way, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The toll is enormous, costing billions of dollars in social, judicial, and health costs, in addition to lost productivity and wages.

International Medical Corps integrates innovative strategies into its core programs to address gender-based violence (GBV), which is defined as actual or threatened physical, sexual, and psychological violence that occurs either within the family or in the broader community. We take a holistic approach to all of our GBV programs so that we not only treat the physical and psychological aftermath of abuse, but also prevent future cases through community education and outreach.

Partners Against Gender-based Violence

In all of its interventions worldwide, International Medical Corps works at the community, regional, and national levels to build lasting self-reliance. Partnerships, whether a local community organization or with other members of the international community, and coordination are vital to the success and sustainability of our programs.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), International Medical Corps has partnered with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in the Care, Access, Safety, & Empowerment (CASE) program to make legal assistance available to survivors, a service that is usually nonexistent for most women in DRC.

International Medical Corps is also working with the Search for Common Ground and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Communications Programs in its Behavior Change Communications (BCC) program in DRC. Together, we are targeting various groups to change societal, community, and individual attitudes and behaviors around gender and violence using music, community theater, mass media, and other innovative, wide-reaching approaches.

Our Response

Whether working in areas of armed conflict where rape has become an overt weapon of war, or in more stable development environments where gender-based violence is less visible, an International Medical Corps priority is to strengthen the ability of local health care workers to identify and treat survivors.

International Medical Corps has conducted successful programs to prevent and respond to GBV in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Russia. These programs are implemented in areas of armed conflict and post-conflict, as part of more stable community-based development and capacity-building projects, and as a component of integrated health programs related to HIV/AIDS, nutrition or reproductive health.

We take a holistic approach to violence against women, so that survivors have access to medical, psychosocial, legal, economic, and social resources needed to recover, while whole communities are educated and engaged in the fight against GBV, an investment that will prevent innumerable cases for years to come. Several important factors help position International Medical Corps favorably to fight against GBV and to do so in some of the world’s toughest environments. Among these factors:

  • Our core role as a primary health care agency allows us to integrate comprehensive GBV response services into our work so that survivors can be provided timely and effective treatment discreetly through local health facilities.
  • Implementing our programs at the community level enables our staff to design and carry out innovative and culturally appropriate GBV programs in close collaboration with community opinion leaders—those most critical in any effort to reshape social attitudes and norms.

RESOURCES

Gender Based Violence Capabilities Statement

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Maternal and Newborn Health

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A holistic approach to gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Reproductive Health Fact Sheet

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Gender-Based Violence Assessment in Ethiopia

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International Medical Corps & UNFPA Partner to Build Technical Skills for Designing & Managing Gender-Based Violence Programs in Humanitarian Settings

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