An Overview of International Medical Corps
The International Medical Corps (IMC) is a Non-Profit world relief and humanitarian organization that provides a variety of services in countries around the world. With 25,000 local partners and 4,500 medical professionals, IMC provides services from emergency response to economic development, infrastructure development to primary physical and mental health care, and more (International Medical Corps, ND). The following is an overview IMC including a brief description of the history and mission of IMC and a succinct review of the type and location of IMC projects around the world. Also included is a review of IMC philosophy of providing mental health services, a description of the mental health program IMC piloted in Sri Lanka and implications and challenges of providing mental health in that region. Finally, I provide my commentary on the efficacy IMC’s approach to mental health treatment and what I see as exemplary and needing improvement in its efforts around the world.
Brief History and Mission
IMC was established 1984 by Dr. Robert Simon in an effort to change the face of international relief work. The inspiration to start IMC started with Dr. Simon’s work with the people of Afghanistan after conflicts with the former Soviet Union in the 1970’s. Since 1984, ICM has expanded its operations to 70 countries providing both long-term relief and emergency response. Most recently, IMC provided disaster relief for Tsunami victims in Japan and those devastated by the 2012 Typhoon in the Philippines. (International Medical Corps, 2013a)
IMC’s overarching mission is to relieve suffering, increase the quality of life, and save lives around the world. The IMC accomplishes this through by way of establishing relief, development, and health care training programs for local populations. By doing so, each country or region in need can develop the skills needed to effect and sustain positive change for themselves (International Medical Corps, 2013b).
Work Around the World
The IMC currently operates on approximately 70 countries around the world providing a variety of services with priority given to providing relief after natural or man-made disaster, developing health care programs, meeting the specific health needs of women and children, implementing water and sanitation programs, and mental health care. In an interview with Public Radio International (2009), Nancy Aossey president and CEO of IMC described the operations of IMC included providing emergency medical services to soldiers and victims of war in Afghanistan, Serbia, Somalia, and Rwanda as well as famine relief in countries such as Ethiopia and Somalia. In addition to providing emergency medical services to the children forced to be warriors in Somalia, the IMC team helped the children recover by removing the brands burned into their chests by the warlords. Often, the volunteer doctors risk their lives to save the lives of others by setting up...