IMC's pre-planning activities relating to Iraq included the positioning of staff and supplies throughout the region. Teams located in Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait have engaged in various logistical and analytical tasks, such as identifying vulnerable populations, coordinating with other relief agencies, and resource planning. In addition, IMC sent a team to Baghdad last month to assess the health, nutritional and living status of the Iraqi people, along with their needs in the event of war.
"After months of intensive contingency planning, IMC is well-prepared to provide assistance to those Iraqis most vulnerable to the consequences of war," said Nancy Aossey, President and CEO of IMC.
Now that conflict has commenced, IMC will move forward with a comprehensive intervention strategy covering both relief and rehabilitation for Iraq. The initial response will address the immediate effects of war on Iraqi civilians, particularly women and children. Specifically, IMC will provide emergency surgical services, public health interventions, primary and medical care, supplementary and therapeutic feeding, water and sanitation projects, shelter projects, and general food distribution.
Leading the initial intervention will be IMC's rapid response and emergency medical teams, which include a diverse cadre of health and other professionals, notably surgeons, trauma physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses, water and sanitation engineers, nutritionists, food specialists, midwives, public health practitioners, and psychologists. Among their responsibilities is to provide local health professionals and others with both hands-on and instructional training, a hallmark of IMC's commitment to promoting self-reliance in the communities it serves.
IMC's initial relief work will be used to help build the foundation for its future rehabilitation and development activities in Iraq, which will begin once the emergency conditions abate.
A unique aspect of IMC's work in Iraq relates to the widespread concern over the potential impact of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives (CBRNE) on relief operations in the region. One way that IMC is addressing this issue is through a collaborative project with UCLA's Center for International Emergency Medicine to develop a CD-based training program for international NGOs preparing humanitarian interventions where the potential of such threats are likely to exist.
The training CD has several broad educational objectives, including protecting the health of field staff in the event of a CBRNE incident; reviewing field triage principles in the context of a CBRNE attack and examining the initial management of victims in such a situation; and stimulating contingency planning and coordination of interagency responses to a CBRNE event.
International Medical Corps is a global humanitarian nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs. Established in 1984 by volunteer United States doctors and nurses, IMC is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in areas worldwide where few organizations dare to serve. By offering training and health care to local populations and medical assistance to people at highest risk, and with the flexibility to respond rapidly to emergency situations, IMC rehabilitates devastated health care systems and helps bring them back to self-reliance.