Where We Work


Helping Refugees Affected by Conflict

Hunger, Drought and Famine Risk

Drought is one of two plagues that challenge Africa’s oldest independent country, leaving more than 8 million people in need of food assistance for their survival. Ethiopia’s second challenge stems from a large and growing refugee population that has been forced to flee armed conflict in neighboring countries, including Somalia and South Sudan. International Medical Corps is providing important aid to address both these crises, including primary healthcare, mental health care and psychosocial support, nutrition, safe drinking water and hygiene assistance. We also administer a successful development program to improve the quality and diversity of household diet by supporting livestock ownership.


Crisis in Tigray

Before a negotiated truce took hold in November 2022, the conflict in northern Ethiopia created millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, and caused widespread destruction. More than 1,500 health facilities in the region no longer function. Despite the truce, emergency response efforts face numerous challenges, including fuel shortages and the disruption of electricity, telephone and internet networks. Transporting critical supplies also remains difficult.

Amid these conditions, we provide an array of lifesaving health and related services to those affected by the conflict and its aftermath. These include vital nutrition, health, gender-based violence (GBV), mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to 26 sites hosting about 800,000 IDPs in the Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions. We provide a range of services through mobile medical units (MMUs) in the regions, including outpatient consultations, nutrition screenings, perinatal consultations, family planning services and health education. We also operate a surge team of two medical officers in Dansha who provide outpatient consultations, MHPSS services and screening for malnutrition.

Following the November 2022 truce, International Medical Corps restarted services at nine IDP sites in Shire  and resumed all other operations in Tigray. With the recent resumption of humanitarian flights and road access to Tigray, our team has shipped medicines and medical supplies, programme materials, and assorted sanitation- and hygiene-related non-food items into Tigray by road and air from Addis Ababa, resupplying our mobile teams and helping to address urgent programme needs.

We deliver clean water via trucks daily in Shire and Sheraro, as well as hand pumps to increase the availability of potable water in the region. In addition, a mobile team that we operate in Adiarkay continues to provide screening, health and nutrition services. Other WASH activities include hygiene promotion sessions, covering such topics as handwashing, proper use of latrines, safe household water handling and prevention of COVID-19.

Our teams have also resumed service in urban areas of Adwa, Aksum and Sheraro. In response to the region’s supply and logistical hurdles, International Medical Corps is working closely with United Nations clusters and relevant authorities to facilitate and utilise space in air freight and road convoys. We also keep our teams in Afar and Northern Amhara supported and supplied with essential items for a comprehensive response.


116  million (2023 estimate)

In Need of Humanitarian Assistance

More than 5.8 million

Infant Mortality Rate Dropped by

70% between 1968 and 2017 

The Challenges


Ethiopia hosts more than 820,000 refugees and asylum seekers—the second-largest refugee population in Africa

Internally Displaced Persons

More than 2.7 million Ethiopians have been displaced by such drivers as conflict and climate change


22.6 million require immediate food assistance

Infant Mortality Rate

Despite progress, Ethiopia still has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates

Our Response

Drought Response: Nutrition and WASH Services

In Ethiopia, we provide treatment for malnourished children and operate programmes covering nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs. We prioritise the training of our community health volunteers—mostly women—on nutrition education, screening and follow-up for malnourished children, and other essential nutrition issues, such as exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding and other measures to prevent malnutrition.

In 2022, our teams trained 21,375 people, including 6,631 trained in infant and young-child feeding (IYCF), 1,303 in community-based management of acute malnutrition and more than 3,050 in different aspects of gender-based violence prevention and response.

To address nutrition-related needs, we have escalated our response efforts in roughly half of the country’s 40 most affected districts, called woredas. This additional support has included:

  • distributing IYCF information, as well as educational and communications materials;
  • screening for and treatment of severe and moderate acute malnutrition, and training healthcare workers to provide severe acute malnutrition management and public health;
  • providing emergency management support, including admission/discharge criteria, reporting and recording; and
  • providing logistical support to transport therapeutic foods, medications and other essential items to health centres and health posts.

Drought conditions have limited access to water in some regions, forcing residents—especially women and children—to travel longer distances for water and, in some cases, forcing them to collect water from possibly contaminated sources. Growing needs for safe and potable water far exceed available resources.

In response, we provide access to clean water, improve sanitation facilities and promote safe hygiene practices, including strengthening healthcare and nutrition services in health facilities. In addition, we conduct regular hygiene awareness training, enabling community members to better understand the threat of communicable diarrheal and other hygiene-related diseases.

In 2022, our WASH programming reached more than 37 million people through infrastructure repair, water trucking, effective water treatment, and hygiene and sanitation measures. This included the construction or rehabilitation of more than 136,000 water sources.

Refugee Response: MHPSS and GBV Services

We provide mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services in Dollo Ado for Somali refugees, and in the Gambella region for South Sudanese refugees. Our programmes provide community based MHPSS services for refugees and vulnerable IDPs.

In Dollo Ado, we also provide vulnerable Somalis with training and services related to primary healthcare, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS care, as well as services related gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, mitigation and response. In addition, we provide screening and treatment of malnutrition for children aged 6–59 months and pregnant and nursing women. We offer IYCF services, early childhood development support and information to women’s groups on how to promote healthy diets through vegetable cultivation.

We train health professionals from referral hospitals and camp-based clinics how to identify, report and conduct clinical case management of GBV, sexually transmitted infections and treatment for female genital mutilation.

We also operate two women-friendly centres—one in Dollo Ado and one in Gambella—that serve as platforms where women and girls can receive MHPSS services, including referrals for more advanced and specialized care. In these centres, women participate in activities to strengthen skills and are provided with materials needed for other activities helpful for their recovery, including musical instruments, henna design, books and art supplies.

Livelihoods and Food Security

In 2022, we reached 15,000 people in nearly 2,800 households with food assistance.

We also have supported 5,000 households headed by women in food-insecure areas of the West Hararghe zone in the Oromia region, training residents on how to develop vegetable gardens, and distributing seeds and gardening tools. Income earned from gardening enables women to send their children to school and strengthens household wealth, enabling them to add such livestock as goats and chickens. Our activities also help reduce the impact of future food shocks on female-headed households by giving women more diversified and productive agricultural outputs.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV Prevention

With an estimated 412 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, Ethiopia has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates. We are committed to safeguarding the reproductive health of Ethiopian women and girls by stressing the importance of good maternal health and preventing HIV/AIDS and traditional practices that are harmful.

In 2022, we provided technical training, capacity building and mentorship to more than 536 health extension workers, 485 physicians and nurses, and 575 community health workers. We also provide support to traditional birth attendants on safe delivery practices, antenatal and postnatal care, family planning and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. We provide a broad range of HIV/AIDS programmes globally and in Ethiopia we integrate HIV prevention messages into our community health education programming.



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