International Medical Corps was established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses to address the critical need for medical care in war-torn Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. Some 35 years later, we are still there, delivering healthcare, healthcare-related services and training as Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most complex humanitarian emergencies. An estimated 2.6 million Afghans are displaced within their own country, with 6.3 million in need of some form of humanitarian or protection assistance in 2019—almost double that of the previous year.
In a June 2019 report, UNOCHA reported that more than 2 million children under 5 are acutely malnourished, compared to 1.3 million in 2017. In six conflict-affected provinces, fewer than 20% of women receive more than one prenatal visit, compared to 64% nationally. Health facilities remain a common target of violence, resulting in the suspension of services in a number of locations. Recurring natural hazards, such as avalanches, earthquakes, flooding and landslides, exacerbate the situation.
The combination of the volatile security situation and frequent natural disasters make it difficult to reach populations in need. According to the World Food Program, huge differences in living standards persist between those living in cities and those in rural areas. The country has some of the world highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates, due to a widespread lack of access to adequate food and nutrition. Our priority in Afghanistan is to improve the quality of life and health status of those Afghans we serve, in part by strengthening the capacity of the public health system.
We are a global humanitarian organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, we are a nonprofit with no political or religious affiliation, and now have more than 7,200 staff members around the world, more than 90% of whom are local. Our mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that strengthen underserved communities worldwide. With the flexibility to respond rapidly to emergencies, we offer medical services and training to people at the highest risk, always working to strengthen local healthcare systems and promote self-reliance.
The hallmarks of International Medical Corps programs are:
Sustainability in programming through ensuring quality, value and excellence in all international and domestic work.
Care for the communities we support enshrined in our commitment, responsibility and responsiveness to the needs and priorities for the communities we serve
Engagement through improving awareness and access to information, seeking out bold and innovative approaches to difficult and pressing challenges, and seizing opportunities for synergy through partnerships and collaboration.
Transparency as a result of our commitment to the communities we serve, through the establishment of productive working relationships and our pledge to operate openly and inclusively.
Accountability to the communities where International Medical Corps works, as well as with displaced persons and refugees.
Global Lessons harnessed to inform and improve future interventions by applying context-appropriate approaches where applicable, and avoiding pitfalls through lessons learned in previous experiences.
International Medical Corps is committed to the following principles:
Humanity: International Medical Corps addresses human suffering wherever it is found. Our humanitarian actions protect life, health and respect for human beings.
Neutrality: International Medical Corps does not take sides in a conflict or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
Impartiality: International Medical Corps’ humanitarian actions are based on need and prioritize the most urgent cases of distress. We make no distinctions about need on the basis of nationality, race, gender, religious belief, class or political viewpoint.
Operational Independence: International Medical Corps’ humanitarian actions are entirely autonomous of any political, economic, military or other objectives of its donors or other actors with an interest in the areas where our work is implemented.
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