Healthcare When It’s Needed Most

Lamis was seven months pregnant and worried that her baby would die during birth the way her first child had. An RI midwife named Hanan convinced Lamis and her husband to deliver not at home, but at one of the six healthcare facilities RI has rebuilt in their rural community in Yemen. 

“We’ve managed to save the lives of a lot of people affected by conflict in these areas,” Hanan says.

Healthcare often disappears in fragile settings like Yemen, where years of savage war have left nearly 15 million people without critical care and supplies. Relief International delivers immediate care to communities in crisis through mobile clinics, community outreach, vaccinations and health facilities like the one where Lamis safely delivered her son, Mohammad. RI teams regularly travel over rocks and rivers with doctors and supplies to reach families on the other side of trouble. And when the crisis is over, Relief International sticks around to help restore regular services.

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RI’s rapid response efforts in South Sudan grew into 24-hour emergency care at our Gentil Hospital in rural Upper Nile. RI clinics serving Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will soon do the same.

“Not all emergencies happen during the day,” explains RI Health Technical Lead Mike O’Brien. “If a woman goes into labor in the middle of the night, she needs access.”

During and after crises, RI works to stay ahead of threats to a community’s well-being. In Bangladesh, RI deploys disease surveillance officers to outrun cholera, diphtheria and other illnesses that threaten families in the closely packed refugee camps. 

These staff members form close ties to the community, collecting data and discerning patterns that might signal an impending epidemic before it shows up in the clinics. RI will soon apply this successful prototype in other countries.

When the war is over or the drought has ended or the earthquake has settled, RI teams join with the community to restore disrupted healthcare systems.

“That’s the big thing we do,” O’Brien says. “When conflict happens, medicines aren’t going in, doctors and nurses have fled. We provide those services so that when people are ready to return we can support them to get going again.”

 

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