A Complete History of ICC
International Child Care's story began in 1961 when an American couple, Jim and Virginia Snavley, visited Haiti. Overwhelmed by what they saw, particularly the plight of children with active tuberculosis, a vision was born. They returned to Haiti and in 1965 the Child Care Foundation (CCF) was formed. Two years later, in 1967, Grace Children's Hospital, dedicated to the care of tubercular children, was officially opened in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In 1972 Canadian involvement grew through the auspices of Caribbean Child Care (CCC). A Haitian advisory board was formed and a year later, the inpatient capacity of the Hospital expanded from 37 to 200 and the 1,000th patient was admitted.
In 1974, ICC, with the blessing of the Haitian Ministry of Health and the advice of the World Health Organization, embarked on a national tuberculosis control program called the "Crusade Against Tuberculosis" (CAT). With this preventative thrust, ICC developed a nationwide program which included a mass BCG vaccination campaign, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis at existing clinics throughout the country and the training of community health workers in the sputum smear diagnosis and ambulatory chemotherapeutic treatment of patients with tuberculosis. Meanwhile, in order to better utilize available resources, an Outpatient Program was opened at Grace Children's Hospital, treating more than 3,000 patients per month. With a shift in emphasis to ambulatory care, inpatient services were intentionally reduced to 80 beds, reserved only for those children with the most advanced cases of tuberculosis.
In 1978, Child Care Foundation and Caribbean Child Care merged to form International Child Care. North American offices were situated in Toledo, Ohio and St. Catharines, Ontario to respond to the growing constituency of support in each country.
Then, in 1979, the Crusade Against Tuberculosis expanded beyond BCG immunization to include Case Finding, Treatment and Education (CFTE), a program which eventually targeted over 100 partner clinics throughout the country with technical and material assistance in the fight to find and treat active cases of TB. In response to the geographic expansion that was taking place, International Child Care decentralized its program management structure in 1980 by opening Zone offices in Cap Haitien (in the northern part of Haiti), Port-au-Prince, and Cayes in the south.
By 1981, International Child Care had developed a reputation for solid expertise in the arena of TB control in Haiti. At that time, ICC had completed a mass immunization campaign, systematically vaccinating over 3 million people throughout the entire nation of Haiti. A year later, with this broad and rich vaccination network in place, International Child Care moved to introduce an expanded program of immunization in specific target areas, geographically shifting toward a broader primary health care orientation, in addition to an ongoing commitment to the struggle against TB. Grace Children's Hospital also began to diversify its medical services that same year with the opening of an Adult Outpatient Service and a Statistics, Evaluation and Research section. A family planning program followed in 1983 with a nutrition clinic launched three years later.
In 1987, as International Child Care marked its 20th anniversary, TB remained a central focus, but within the context of a growing commitment to community-based primary health care. Spring cappings began taking place in the Cerca la Source region and more and more budgeted dollars and time were being spent on health promotion and disease prevention. Then, exploration began into the possible expansion of International Child Care's work into another country. Ultimately, the neighboring Dominican Republic was selected and officially launched in 1988. A strategy was adopted to work through in-country Christian Dominican organizations largely in the arena of health education activities, specifically the training of mid-level health promoters. Shortly after, a community based rehabilitation program was started to address the needs of children with disabilities and their families.
Meanwhile, in Haiti, International Child Care had been contracted by the Ministry of Health as its principal partner in the national TB program. Grace Children's Hospital launched the Urban Community Health program, targeting the slum neighborhoods immediately surrounding the hospital, with an array of basic primary health care services linked with the clinical services provided in the hospital itself. Community Health Promotion was added to the Crusade Against Tuberculosis program, reflecting the growing involvement in health issues beyond TB, localizing its projects in specific geographic areas. International Child Care had come to fully embrace a community based, integrated approach, both in the capital as well as in the rural areas in which it was working. Despite the political crisis of 1991-1994 and the application of internationally imposed economic sanctions, ICC continued to successfully evolve its integrated health models. By the early 1990s, maternal/child health had emerged as an equally important program direction. In 1992, the Global Board of International Child Care also endorsed "Education for Health" as a primary strategic direction for the organization.
With the increasing global crisis of HIV/AIDS, International Child Care instituted a voluntary counseling and testing program at Grace Children´s Hospital in 1994. A major advancement in the care of HIV+ patients came in early 2005, when ICC inaugurated anti-retroviral medical treatment for children and adults with HIV/AIDS thanks to partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Center for Disease Control, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Today, International Child Care has over 300 full-time staff working in four countries (Haiti, Dominican Republic, USA and Canada). ICC operates a broad array of services in the "field" countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with the North American divisions focused primarily on resource development for the ministry.
In keeping with International Child Care´s philosophy of sustainable development and local empowerment, in 2002, for the first time since ICC's inception, ICC/Haiti was devoted entirely to national, Haitian leadership. All of the personnel in Haiti, from the highest administrative and professional levels to the support staff, are Haitian. Similarly, all but one employee of ICC's program in the Dominican Republic are nationals. The DR National Director is from Holland.