Our Work

Women’s and Children’s Health

including Gender-based Violence Protection and Response

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’s and children’s health in most communities.


We work with communities and local health authorities to improve the health of expectant women by offering safe motherhood services that include antenatal care, safe delivery by skilled birth attendants, quality care for obstetric and newborn emergencies, post-natal care and family planning that stresses healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. Furthermore, we contribute to better health outcomes and reduction of common childhood illnesses and deaths, through programs that include vaccinations against communicable diseases; growth monitoring; early-childhood development interventions; and community-based case management of common childhood illnesses. Many of our programs are designed to include youth, because young boys and girls in their adolescence have special health-related needs.

In times of crisis, when traditional social codes protecting women can easily break down, women, adolescent girls and young children become more vulnerable to abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. We offer culturally appropriate services to combat gender-based violence, and work to reduce forms of violence rooted in gender discrimination. We also provide medical interventions for survivors of rape.

Approximately every two minutes a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth. The majority of these deaths are preventable. And when a mother dies, her newborn child is 10 times more likely to die.
Almost all maternal and child deaths (99%) occur in low- and middle-income countries, with Africa being the hardest-hit region.
Each year, an estimated 5.4 million children under age five—primarily infants—die from largely preventable or treatable causes.

Areas of Focus


During an emergency, protracted crisis, early recovery or development, International Medical Corps and its affiliates provide and/or support a wide range of services to reduce maternal and newborn illnesses and deaths. These services include:

  • a Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP), implemented during the onset of crisis to prevent and manage the consequences of sexual violence, prevent excess maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality, reduce HIV transmission and plan for comprehensive reproductive health services beginning in the early days and weeks of an emergency;
  • family planning programming, including emergency contraception;
  • maternal and newborn health, including basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care; essential newborn care; antenatal, delivery and post-natal care; clean delivery kits; immunisations; and post-abortion care, including management of complications resulting from unsafe abortion and miscarriage, and referral for psychosocial support;
  • sexual health, including prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reproductive-tract infections through community-level action such as providing education and condoms;  clinical case management (commonly the syndromic approach), detection and treatment of cervical cancer; and prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and
  • adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

Key Stats

The risk of pregnancy-related death is twice as high for girls aged 15 to 19, and five times higher for girls aged 10 to 14, compared to women in their 20s.
When a woman dies in childbirth, her surviving children are 10 times more likely to die within two years than those whose mothers remain in the home.
There are currently 22.5 million refugees worldwide; about half are women. There is urgent need to address the specific reproductive and other physical and mental health needs of these women. This is particularly important during pregnancy, when the vulnerability of refugee women is notably heightened.


Children depend on their families and their communities for well-being in all aspects of their lives—a reality that makes the health of children in every society a good proxy indicator for a functioning healthcare system that caters to all.

Globally, there has been progress in reducing the number of children who die before their fifth birthday. Despite this progress, the Millennium Development Goal target for reducing child deaths was not met by the 2015 target date, underscoring the need to do more to achieve this goal. The majority of cases of under-5 deaths are due to diseases that are preventable or treatable using proven, affordable and cost-effective methods.

We work at the community level to support the sustainable delivery of proven child-health practices, such immunisations, growth monitoring, nutrition services, consultations for common diseases and integrated community-based case management of common childhood illnesses.

Key Stats

Between 1990 and 2015, the death rate of children under 5 years old dropped 53%, from 91 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 1990 to 43 in 2015—a number that translates into 16,000 fewer deaths every day.
An estimated 45% of all under-5 deaths occur in the first 28 days of child’s life.
Children below 18 years of age constituted about half of the global refugee population in 2017, up from 41% in 2009.


Gender-based violence is a pervasive public health and human rights problem, affecting the physical and psychological health of survivors, as well as the health and well-being of families and communities. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence in emergency settings, when risks are compounded at the very time when support systems are interrupted. International Medical Corps works with communities to address these risks, and to combat beliefs and practices that perpetuate violence against women and girls. We are also a leading agency in the delivery of quality, focused support services for survivors of GBV. We tailor support services to different cultures and contexts, helping survivors to recover from traumatic experiences and safely reintegrate into communities.

Key Stats

Worldwide, one in three women have experienced violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by a non-partner
Women who have been abused by their partners are almost twice as likely to experience depression and, in some regions, 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV
Complications from pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 in developing countries, where one in three girls will marry before the age of 18