International Medical Corps Rebuilds Afghanistan’s Health Care and Devastated Communities Worldwide
Conflict, violence, natural disaster, famine and other emergencies devastate local communities and national health systems. The world’s most challenging places, containing the world’s most vulnerable people, need long-term support, training and capacity-building to restore self-reliance.
Since 1984, International Medical Corps has served on the frontlines of war, famine, and natural disaster to deliver more than $1.2 billion in lifesaving health care and training to the world’s most vulnerable people in nearly 70 countries. Aiming to restore self-reliance, International Medical Corps incorporates capacity-building directly into its emergency responses. This transfer of knowledge and skills helps ensure the growth of healthy communities long after International Medical Corps’ programs end.
Dr. Shamail, a female doctor from Afghanistan, exemplifies International Medical Corps’ innovative approach to humanitarian relief. Forced to flee Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, Dr. Shamail joined International Medical Corps in Pakistan, overseeing health programs for more than 150,000 Afghan refugees in camps in the volatile Northwest Frontier Province. After the fall of the Taliban, she led a team of female physicians into Afghanistan to deliver lifesaving maternal and child health care in a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Over the past decade, Dr. Shamail and her International Medical Corps colleagues have opened Emergency Obstetric Care centers, introduced maternal care in primary health care clinics, and established the country’s leading community midwife training program, through which each graduate can now support up to 330 women from their own communities. Dr. Shamail herself has trained hundreds of health care professionals throughout Afghanistan, including physicians, community health workers, traditional birth attendants, and obstetricians. Though significant challenges remain, Afghanistan’s maternal mortality rate has dropped dramatically in recent years, from 1,800 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 500 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 (BBC).
Further, despite Afghanistan’s persistent political and socioeconomic problems, its Ministry of Health is the one ministry that functions smoothly today—and 70% of its staff was trained by International Medical Corps. Dr. Shamail continues to be at the forefront of rebuilding the country’s health care infrastructure, stating, “I am very happy that International Medical Corps has given me the chance to work for my people—especially women and children. When I see their happiness, it encourages me more because these people have serious needs and International Medical Corps has made my help possible.
International Medical Corps has trained millions like Dr. Shamail, who have in turned trained millions more. It has been a first-responder in the world’s biggest crises: famine in Somalia, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, war in Darfur, an earthquake in Haiti, a tsunami in Japan, and more. Today, International Medical Corps continues to go where it is most needed and work directly with local communities to overcome their biggest challenges, ultimately fostering peace and stability worldwide.
More About This Charity
Disaster Relief and International Aid
International Medical Corps
To improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide.
- This charity has raised $134,472,001 in the past year
- This Achievement alone helped 1,403,059 people
- This charity has helped 13,431,469 people since January 1, 2011
- Afghanistan, 2011 alone: 361 health facilities supported; 656,597 health consultations; 21,991 ante- and postnatal consultations; 30 midwives trained