When temporary health centers mean continued care

First responders to crisis and conflict around the world, International Medical Corps is committed to being on the frontlines of a disaster, no matter when and where that disaster strikes. 

During an emergency, people seeking medical care often outstrips the local health system’s ability to provide critical services. Exacerbating the crisis is a lack of staff availability to monitor patient flow, disinfect equipment, and enforce safe waste disposal. With infrastructure damaged and power down, interruptions in supply chains lead to shortages of medicines and supplies.

In 2017-2018, FedEx and International Medical Corps deployed Emergency Field Hospital assets to three disaster responses, showing that the initiative can provide positive community impact.  

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, FedEx shipped generators and water bladders, which International Medical Corps provided, to health clinics across the island. Health centers were able to remain open with power and access to safe water, resulting in more than 290,000 patient consultations over the next year. FedEx also shipped 14,700 hygiene kits, keeping families healthy and preventing the spread of disease.  

In 2018, FedEx shipped 30,000 pounds of hospital shelters and personal protective equipment to fight the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history, which struck the Democratic Republic of Congo in August. The shelters supported International Medical Corps Ebola Treatment Centers, helping medical staff deliver around-the-clock care. Teams used the personal protective equipment across their response, including at Ebola Treatment Centers, at Ebola screening and referral units, and for critically needed trainings for health staff on infection prevention and control measures. International Medical Corps teams admitted 815 patients across two Ebola Treatment Centers, constructed 43 screening and referral units which conducted 993,000 Ebola screenings, and trained 1,323 health staff across 61 health facilities. Together, we are helping contain the spread of the virus and increased the ability for local health staff to respond to future Ebola outbreaks. 

When Hurricane Michael struck Florida in October 2018, two community health centers in the PanCare Health network sustained extensive damage, rendering them inoperable. FedEx shipped hospital shelters, enabling International Medical Corps to help PanCare provide patients, 80% of whom are on Medicare or Medicaid, with services until the buildings were restored. Without the centers, patients would have few alternatives for care. The temporary hospitals helped provide 3,993 health and dental consultations. PanCare’s Regional Operations Manager, Sean Golder, described the impact, “We just want to make sure people get seen, people get taken care of. Because when they’re worried about everything else, they shouldn’t need to worry about, ‘I’m out of insulin, or I’m out of blood pressure medicine, or I have this cut that looks infected.’” The shelters delivered health-related services to the most vulnerable men, women and children affected by the hurricane.