Los Angeles-based International Medical Corps has announced a $2.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the organization's emergency response in Kenya following that nation's contested presidential election in December.
The grant will enable the organization's Kenya-based team to expand its outreach among the estimated half million Kenyans who need immediate assistance due to lack of medical care, housing, and income. In particular, the funds will support primary healthcare and mental health services delivered through mobile clinics in Nairobi's Kibera slum and in the Rift Valley Province. The clinics treat several hundred people per day, with a focus on women and children suffering from diarrhea due to poor-quality water and sanitation, upper respiratory tract infections as a result of insufficient shelter, and malaria.
The funds also will provide improved water, sanitation, and food distribution to displaced and vulnerable people, and will bolster IMC's existing HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis programs to prevent patients from defaulting on their medications and ensure that patients on antiretroviral and antibiotic treatment receive adequate nutrition. "IMC's strong, on-the-ground presence and partnerships with Kenyan NGOs will ensure emergency health services and humanitarian relief will reach tens of thousands of people," said Charles Lyons, the Gates Foundation's director of special initiatives, Global Development Program.
Since the disputed December 27 election, violent clashes between political opponents and marauding gangs have left nearly one thousand dead and approximately two hundred fifty thousand homeless. "Rapid response to the emergency in Kenya is critical," said IMC president and CEO Nancy Aossey. "This timely and substantial financial assistance from the Gates Foundation has allowed IMC to scale-up operations during this crisis, bringing vital medical services and support to communities devastated by the violence and displacement."