Local Heroes. Stronger Communities.

As a first responder to every major global emergency for the past 34 years, saving millions of lives, International Medical Corps has a well-deserved reputation for speed and efficiency. Our true legacy, however, lies in our unique long-term training strategy—and with the thousands of frontline health workers we train and employ in the world’s most underserved communities.

Because helping MILLIONS starts with training ONE, International Medical Corps stays long after the news headlines fade—to help communities recover and rebuild by strengthening the capacity of local healthcare workers to serve their own people.

This month, we are honoring our brave and resilient local heroes for the work they do on the front lines every day. We will be sharing their extraordinary stories, showcasing how they help their communities through war and disaster.

True resilience means having the tools and training to become self-reliant, as preparation and knowledge promote confidence and independence. We train thousands of people each year from local communities, as well as from national, regional and local governments and non-government groups, including health professionals, to respond to and prepare for emergencies. And through our supportive supervision model, we go back to communities periodically to ensure that local health workers are using their new knowledge and skills.

In 2017, we awarded 106,428 training certificates in such areas as:

  • emergency obstetric and newborn care
  • clinical management of rape
  • gender-based violence prevention and response
  • management of mental health services
  • psychological first aid
  • infant and young-child feeding practices
  • sanitation and hygiene
  • and more

Training local health workers is critical to addressing urgent, global health challenges such as maternal mortality.

Every year, an estimated 300,000 women and 3 million newborns die from complications during pregnancy, childbirth or other neonatal causes. 92% of global maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where it can be hard to find a health services—only 42% of the world’s medical midwifery and nursing personnel is available to women and newborn infants in these countries.

For example, in Afghanistan, where about 1 out of every 62 mothers dies during birth or because of related complications, having a skilled birth attendant or midwife in a community can be a matter of life or death. Yet for large parts of the population who live in rural areas, access to appropriate and affordable medical care is often non-existent. That’s why International Medical Corps has have trained more than 2,000 midwives in the country since 2007. Each Afghan midwife like this one can provide up to 330 women from her own community with maternal health care. That’s 660,000 women reached, every year—which is FAR more than we could reach alone.

All across the world, we train community members to become their own first responders—and strengthen communities. We especially focus on training frontline health workers, as they represent a lifeline for their communities. It is through such training that we are able to create our most lasting impact and sustain the programs we start long after we have departed.