Medical Aid in Ecuador

International Medical Corps continues to respond and meet the most urgent needs of communities as they recover and rebuild.

To respond rapidly to health needs resulting from the quake, International Medical Corps immediately deployed a doctor volunteer—a long-time first responder with International Medical Corps and with experience working in Ecuador—to Manabí Province, one of the worst affected areas, to provide technical support and coordination expertise for a local team of 30 medical volunteers. In addition to providing medical care, the team gathered information on humanitarian needs in Manabí through site visits, discussions with local officials, and consultations with medical personnel at affected hospitals and health centers during the week following the earthquake. The team also saw patients as they reached affected communities in Manabí and provided care to at least 158 patients in the villages of Jama, Vijagual, Don Juan, and Mocara. When needed, the team also provided basic medical supplies and medicines to health facilities in need of replacement stock.

As acute medical concerns following the earthquake are addressed, International Medical Corps is working with the Government of Ecuador to fill gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene services, helping families and communities avoid disease and stay healthy. From Jama to Pedernales, in Manabi Province, new spontaneous settlements have been established by returning families and the numbers of displaced persons in authorized camps has slightly increased over the past week. Many of the displaced are from rural villages with limited access to services, particularly in water, sanitation and hygiene, especially in the aftermath of the earthquake.

In coordination with the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion and the military, along with support of volunteers, International Medical Corps initially distributed 250 family hygiene kits for 1,250 people to the four authorized camps in Pedernales, a region of Manabi Province declared a disaster zone by the government. These kits were comprised of soap, laundry soap, buckets, towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, toilet paper, and razors. In the coming days, teams will distribute hygiene kits to 1,000 families as well as 100 small vendors who sell fresh produce in authorized camps and rural spontaneous settlements.

Moving forward, International Medical Corps will work in up to 30 authorized camps and spontaneous settlements to construct accessible and private bathing facilities, handwashing stations, and temporary water infrastructure. To ensure water is also potable for drinking, families will receive water purification sachets with instructions on their use.

As needed, International Medical Corps will also provide Psychological First Aid trainings for local response teams in consultation with appropriate camp leaders and governmental coordination bodies. Psychological first aid training is a non-intrusive way of providing psychosocial support. It teaches doing no harm; normal reactions to stress and loss; listening in a supportive way; strengthening positive coping strategies; ways of linking people to needed services; and staff self-care. Trained staff can reach earthquake survivors, who may be suffering with stress-related problems, which can contribute to longer term mental health concerns, such as depression and PTSD, with psychosocial screening and connect them with additional resources for recovery. Providing these trainings not only meets emergency needs, but builds the long-term capacity of local staff to deliver these services in the future.