Monday, November 2, 2009

International Medical Corps to Lead PREPARE Team As Part of USAID Pandemic Threats Effort; Project to Focus on Improving Coordinated Emergency Managem

November 2, 2009, Los Angeles, Calif. – International Medical Corps is pleased to announce its participation in a three-year, $6.65 million contract awarded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Global Health to strengthen the human capacity of countries to identify and respond to outbreaks of pandemic diseases in a timely and sustainable manner. International Medical Corps leads a distinguished team including Global Deterrence Alternatives (GDA), TriMed Inc., MedPrep Consulting, and World Learning.

The project, called PREPARE, is part of the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program – a specialized set of projects that build on the successes of the Agency’s 30 years of work in disease surveillance, training and outbreak response. The other projects in this USAID Program are PREDICT, IDENTIFY, RESPOND, and PREVENT.

PREPARE will focus on the provision of technical support for simulations and field tests of national, regional and local pandemic preparedness plans to ensure that countries have the capacity to implement response plans effectively during pandemic events. This agreement adds to USAID’s experience in the planning, design and implementation of tabletop and field drill simulations to enhance the preparedness of countries and regions against Avian and Pandemic Influenza.

PREPARE will employ a unique eight-step approach, combined with best practices and lessons-learned, to deliver training, simulation exercises, and evidence-based decision support. Its goal is to create capacities based on continuous refinement and enable countries and regions to reach higher levels of public health preparedness against infectious diseases with pandemic potential.

“International Medical Corps’ 25-year track record of response to large-scale emergencies in resource-challenged environments worldwide places us in a unique position to lead this kind of innovative initiative,” said Stephen Tomlin, Vice President of Program, Policy and Planning. “Staging pandemic simulation exercises that incorporate all sectors of society will enable us to create strengths upon which communities, counterparts and collaborating government ministries can offset the impact of pandemics through effective emergency management, and to take control of their own destinies by working together.”

International Medical Corps and its partners are well aware of the global health challenge presented by the spread of emerging infectious diseases and the potentially catastrophic direct and indirect human and economic consequences they bring. International Medical Corps has a long history in more than 50 countries around the world, responding to emergencies affecting large populations. In creating this PREPARE Simulation and Exercise Team, International Medical Corps complements its broad experience in international public health and emergency management with partners whose track records reflect state-of-the-art exercise development practices and tools for evidence-based decision support and strong experience in setting up field training exercises worldwide. The resulting PREPARE Team’s organizational capability provides USAID with a cycle of continuous refinement for “whole-of-society” approaches to pandemic preparedness at country, regional and international levels that is inclusive of U.S. government partners and U.N. agencies, civil society, host country governments, and international organizations and NGOs.

International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical Corps is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide. For more information visit our website at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

International Medical Corps Aids Wounded in Deadliest Iraqi Bombings Since 2007

Responding to the deadliest coordinated attack in Iraq since 2007, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and physicians trained by International Medical Corps, provided life-saving assistance in central Baghdad. The two near-simultaneous suicide car bombings on Sunday caused massive destruction to the Ministry of Justice and surrounding buildings leaving more than 150 people dead and close to 600 wounded.

International Medical Corps-trained EMTs, working under the direction of the Ministry of Health, responded immediately to the scene to provide care within minutes. They administered emergency aid to patients scattered among the wreckage and transferred them to ambulances where they were rushed to local Baghdad hospitals.

Medical City hospital complex, which houses the closest hospital to the attack, received more than 150 of the wounded. Newly trained EMTs and their International Medical Corps trainers stopped in the middle of a certification ceremony, which was being held at the hospital, and rushed to aid the victims. Using the life-saving trauma techniques they had just learned, students resuscitated the wounded alongside International Medical Corps-trained doctors staffing the main receiving hospitals.

Madhafar Muhammad, one of the EMT trainees said, “We suddenly went from finishing the class to using our training on real injured people…they had blast wounds to the head, chest, and abdomen. The skills we learned in the International Medical Corps class were very, very helpful. We didn’t know [how] to do any of these things before.”

Despite a history of violence and trauma in the country, formal emergency care was previously very limited in Iraq. Over the last two years, International Medical Corps, with funding from Australian Agency for International Development and in cooperation with the Iraqi Ministry of Health, implemented a national emergency medical care development initiative for the country. This program is the first in-depth attempt to renovate the civilian emergency infrastructure. To date over 700 EMTs and 200 physicians have received training.

“This is a perfect example of how training and infrastructure strengthening can provide both immediate emergency response and sustainable health care improvement,” noted emergency medicine professor and program director Dr. Ross Donaldson. “Our hearts go out to the injured and their families.”

International Medical Corps has been working in Iraq for the past six years, creating sustainable initiatives focused on health care, humanitarian assistance, capacity building, and community engagement.

Since its inception 25 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been to relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit our website at

Friday, October 23, 2009

Facing Another Deadly Outbreak in Zimbabwe, International Medical Corps Launches Emergency Water and Sanitation Project to Prevent the Spread of Chol

International Medical Corps has launched an emergency water and sanitation campaign in Zimbabwe in anticipation of a cholera outbreak that is expected to strike in the coming weeks with the onset of the rainy season. The project, made possible by the generous support of the American people, benefits 150,000 people living in three districts in Mashonaland Central, and works to reduce the spread of cholera by improving access to clean water as well as personal hygiene practices.

“The six-month project aims to prevent cholera through a comprehensive package of water and sanitation activities,” says Miel Hendrickson, International Medical Corps coordinator for the region. “This includes repairing water systems and latrines, providing water filtration systems, and educating households about personal hygiene activities.”

At the community level, International Medical Corps plans to improve access to safe water by repairing or protecting household and community water points and constructing latrines. At the household level, the project calls for the distribution of hygiene kits and bio-sand filters to treat and safely store water at home. True to its mission to provide relief and enable self-reliance, International Medical Corps’ water and sanitation initiative will engage the community through education and training on personal hygiene activities, maintenance of the water systems, and the project at large.

Nearly 100,000 cases of cholera have been reported in Zimbabwe since August 2008, with approximately 4,300 deaths. Earlier this month, International Medical Corps investigated two confirmed cholera cases and distributed 2,000 hygiene kits provided by UNICEF. International Medical Corps is now working to acquire additional kits in order to ensure effective and timely response in case additional cases arise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

International Medical Corps Selected as Recipient of Henry Schein Cares Donations

International Medical Corps, a global humanitarian organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through the provision of emergency assistance and health care training, has been selected as a recipient for product donations from Henry Schein Cares, the global social responsibility program of Henry Schein, Inc., the largest distributor of healthcare products and services to office-based practitioners. Henry Schein Cares helps to increase access to health care for underserved communities through the donation of medical, dental and animal health supplies to community-based health professionals and their organizations. As a recipient of the program, International Medical Corps will receive a broad selection of health care products and supplies, valued between $5,000 and $25,000, throughout the course of the two-year program cycle. The grant will enable International Medical Corps to expand its health care services for underserved and at-risk populations who are the victims of wars or natural disasters in more than 25 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.