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Where we focus


Each year, millions of people, particularly women and children, die from preventable causes in countries affected by violent conflict and natural disasters. Most of these deaths are the result of disruptions related to crisis: poor sanitation, shortages of food and medicine, and inadequate prevention. Refugees resettled in the United States also can face difficulties accessing proper health care.

Our goals

Poor health can undermine people’s potential to improve their lives. The International Rescue Committee helps those who are experiencing or recovering from conflict and disaster reduce their risk of falling ill and receive treatment when they do get sick.
  • Ensure that children are treated for and protected from the leading causes of death

    How we get there:

    • Empowering community health workers to deliver treatment for pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition and other leading causes of child death;
    • Developing transformative strategies for treating malnourished children, particularly in the most remote areas.

    See all health goals.

  • Ensure that people receive the wide-ranging support they need

    How we get there:

    • Helping people advocate for themselves, access insurance, find doctors and receive the right care;
    • Ensuring that people can manage long-term health conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.

    See all health goals.

  • Ensure that women and girls have access to reproductive health services

    How we get there:

    • Supporting skilled health workers who keep women and babies safe during pregnancy and childbirth;
    • Increasing access to family planning for women in crisis zones, including long-acting methods.

    See all health goals.

Our impact

In 2015, the International Rescue Committee and our partners helped:

21 Million

people access primary and reproductive health care.

Family planning is one of the most life-saving and empowering interventions in health.

Read our report.
2.6 Million

people access clean drinking water or sanitation

Ethiopia is suffering from its worst drought in 50 years, affecting more than 10 million people.

How we're providing relief

children under the age of one get vaccinated against measles.

Some of the world’s deadliest diseases affecting children are the easiest to cure.

Read story on Medium.

News and features

Expert views

  • "Ongoing efforts to address Ebola and other diseases that trigger panic and stigma should explicitly consider the social and mental health landscape of a disease. "
    Lara Ho
    Senior adviser for health research, International Rescue Committee
  • "Ebola has laid bare the tragic rift that exists between theory and reality when it comes to epidemic response in the poorest places on earth."
    Emmanuel d’Harcourt
    Senior health director, International Rescue Committee
  • "By failing to provide family planning in humanitarian settings, the international community is neglecting what is possible and our responsibility to save lives."
    Ashley Wolfington
    Senior adviser for reproductive health, International Rescue Committee