Our Work

Family & Community Health

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’ Sustainable Development Goals for ending poverty and 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 works at the community level to promote health, prevent disease and assure 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 contribute to building resilient communities.

As part of this process, International Medical Corps engages both local government and community leaders as partners to help local residents identify their own health priorities and needs, then explore the available local resources to meet them.

Life expectancy grew in most regions of the world from 2000 to 2016, with an overall global rise of 5.5 years
Cases of wild poliovirus have decreased by more than 99% over the past three decades, from an estimated 350,000 cases reported globally in 1988 to 33 in 2018
Every two minutes a child dies from malaria

Areas of Focus


International Medical Corps works 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 recognizing and preventing malaria, diarrhea and dehydration; providing access to basic healthcare, including visits to the local health center for a routine checkup (especially for women during pregnancy); and taking children to vaccination sites for immunization.

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.


Key Stats

If left untreated, an individual infected with tuberculosis can spread the disease to 10 to 15 people every year, though not all will become sick
Among the 73 countries that collectively account for 96% of maternal deaths globally, only four have the potential midwifery workforce needed to deliver essential maternal, newborn and reproductive healthcare
The World Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution


International Medical Corps works 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.

In Africa, infectious diseases remain a leading cause of illness and death. Elsewhere, it is non-communicable disease that has become the main cause of illness and death, even though it receives far less attention than epidemics and emergency vaccination campaigns.

That said, more than 1 billion people each year are affected by infectious diseases—including neglected tropical illnesses that thrive in impoverished and marginalized 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 outbreaks of disease.

A significant number of International Medical Corps’ responses have included technical assistance for the treatment and control of epidemic diseases. Our staff of more than 7,000 worldwide includes physicians and public health specialists who coordinate health responses worldwide and engage in pandemic-preparedness activities.

At International Medical Corps, our 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.
  • Work with community partners to end practices that contribute to the spread of disease.

Key Stats

Non-communicable diseases cause more than two-thirds of all annual deaths, with the biggest killers being cardiac disorders and strokes
33 new cases of wild poliovirus were reported worldwide in 2018, 11 more than in 2017
Upper respiratory infections, including pneumonia, claim more lives among children under 5 than any other disease, according to the World Health Organization

Junior Community Health Workers in Iraq

Hear from three kids about their experience working with our Junior Community Health Worker program in Iraq.

“Cholera Excludes No One” Nurse Christine Casimir shares her story

The emergency response to Hurricane Matthew is not Christine’s first stint with International Medical Corps. Following the earthquake in 2010, Christine applied ten years of nursing experience to help International Medical Corps' mobile medical teams treat earthquake victims and cholera patients. “I was especially shocked at the number of child victims,” she said, describing how she worked tirelessly to keep them healthy.




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