Families and communities remain central to the well-being of all who are part of them—from the very young to the very old. The strength and health of these fundamental social building blocks lie at the core of achieving the United Nations-led effort to attain the Sustainable Development Goals for ending poverty and for advancing social development and better health for all by 2030.
Family and community health programs are crucial to meeting public health needs, especially for those living in fragile environments.
International Medical Corps and its affiliates work at the community level to promote health, prevent disease and ensure that all family members have the opportunity to survive and thrive. Our holistic approach ensures that even those living in precarious conditions can benefit from comprehensive, quality healthcare services. At the same time, we promote healthy habits and practices that can last a lifetime and that contribute to building resilient communities.
As part of this process, we engage both local government and community leaders as partners, to help residents identify their own health priorities and needs, then explore the available local resources to meet them.
Areas of Focus
We work with residents and their leaders within the communities we serve to promote and support programs and other efforts that improve access to basic health services.
We train community health workers and volunteers to provide health education to adults and adolescents on a variety of topics designed to improve disease awareness, such as recognising and preventing malaria, diarrhoea and dehydration; providing access to basic healthcare, including visits to the local health centre for a routine checkup (especially for women during pregnancy); and taking children to vaccination sites for immunisation.
Actively seeking out and involving community residents is key to implementing effective community-level programs, which is why International Medical Corps pursues this approach at every stage of the program cycle. We believe community ownership and stewardship are crucial ingredients for sustainable programs that ultimately contribute to better health outcomes for all.
International Medical Corps and its affiliates work to help vulnerable communities worldwide prevent and respond to communicable diseases, including 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 marginalised communities, in conflict zones and in 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 disease outbreaks.
In Africa, infectious diseases remain a leading cause of illness and death. Elsewhere, non-communicable disease have 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 our responses have included technical assistance for the treatment and control of epidemic diseases. Our staff of more than 7,000 worldwide includes doctors and public health specialists who coordinate health responses globally and engage in pandemic preparedness activities.
At International Medical Corps, are goals are to:
- improve epidemiological surveillance, prevention and response to epidemic-prone diseases;
- contribute to health security and protection of vulnerable populations;
- contribute to the global target of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030;
- educate and inform populations on disease control measures; and
- work with community partners to end practices that contribute to the spread of disease.