EMERGENCY RESPONSE 2017-10-10T14:57:39+00:00

While emergency humanitarian response is not an IMA core focus, sometimes we are uniquely equipped to provide just what’s needed in a time of crisis. This year, IMA responded to two major health emergencies.

West Africa Ebola Crisis


The Liberian health system was largely unprepared for the 2014 outbreak of the Ebola Virus, which infected more than 10,600 Liberians. IMA’s longtime partner, the Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL), positioned itself early on to respond to this crisis.

IMA supported CHAL to train health care professionals, community health volunteers, and religious and traditional leaders on the key facts about Ebola and how to stop its spread. IMA also supported CHAL’s community outreach efforts utilizing posters, flyers, and jingles that were played on the radio and through the streets of select villages via sound trucks. IMA also procured 58 kits of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for CHAL to distribute to health workers at 18 health centers, along with the training on their proper use.

IMA’s assistance was made possible thanks to individual donations as well as grants from IMA member agencies including Lutheran World Relief; American Baptist Churches USA; Week of Compassion, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and Church of the Brethren. Additional donors included Disaster Aid USA, Inc. and the Rotary Clubs of Baltimore, Bonds Meadow, Chevy Chase-Bethesda, Mt. Airy, Owings Mills, Pikesville, and Sykesville in Maryland, and the Rotary Club of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Projection maps showed the DRC was at risk for high fatality from an outbreak of Ebola in 2014, separate from the one already affecting West Africa. Already working to strengthen health systems in DRC, IMA took swift preemptive measures by providing 200 PPE kits to protect health workers and contain a potential outbreak before it started. IMA also worked with the DRC Ministry of Health to plan a five-day training for hospital staff in Ebola preparedness and response.

Funding was provided by individual donors and IMA member agencies including the American Baptist Churches, the United Church of Christ, and Week of Compassion, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).


This year, IMA released a report titled STOPPING EBOLA IN ITS TRACKS: Maximizing a Health System Approach for an Improved Epidemic Response. The report includes recommendations from IMA’s experiences containing Ebola outbreaks in the DRC dating back to 1995.

Download a free copy at www.imaworldhealth.org/ebola-outbreak

Emergency Health Services in South Sudan

In December 2013, conflict erupted in South Sudan and continued through much of 2015. IMA’s long-term work to strengthen the health systems in Jonglei and Upper Nile States has placed our team in some of the most conflict-affected areas, where thousands have been displaced from their homes and lack access to basic needs for health such as clean water, food, and medical care. Through our strong connections with the Ministry of Health and funding from OFDA, USDA, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and All We Can (Methodist Relief and Development, UK), this year IMA provided emergency health services in the following ways:

  • Established a temporary clinic in Mingkaman, where mothers can safely deliver their babies.
  • Provided an emergency ambulance that transports patients and delivers medical supplies to clinics operating in the Bor County region.
  • Established mobile clinics in Jonglei and Upper Nile States to provide vital primary and emergency health services including disability and trauma referral, screening for psychosocial needs, and nutrition.
  • Renovated and equipped Bor Hospital, the only fixed facility with surgical capacity, which had been completely ransacked during fighting.


Mary Akuol was born close to the front lines of conflict in South Sudan. When she was 11 months old, a health worker at Kurwai Health Center noticed Mary’s troubling symptoms and urged her mother to take her to seek treatment. A mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement less than 11 centimeters indicates severe acute malnutrition; Mary’s MUAC was 10.5 cm. She was in serious danger.
The Kurwai Health Center, managed by IMA World Health and a local organization called Nile Hope, is part of a targeted nutrition outreach effort funded by the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. Mary entered an intensive therapeutic treatment program, during which she received ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) and was monitored by the nutrition center staff. After six weeks, she had improved dramatically — achieving a 15% weight gain — and was discharged a healthy one-year-old.