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IMA World Health, Lutheran World Relief Join Forces

International NGOs’ complementary work in public health, rural livelihoods and emergency relief expands global reach and impact

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2019—International humanitarian organizations IMA World Health and Lutheran World Relief today announced they are combining operations to dramatically increase their impact on breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting healthier families and communities throughout the world.

IMA World Health, a faith-based public health agency headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Lutheran World Relief, based in Baltimore, integrated January 1 with a single CEO, leadership team and staff, and identical boards of directors.

The combined organization mobilizes a joint staff of 550 people in 21 countries around the world.

Rick Santos, who served as CEO at IMA World Health for the past nine years, will serve as a senior advisor to support the transition. Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard, president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, will lead the unified organization.

The move is a natural evolution for IMA World Health and Lutheran World Relief, which have worked together for more than half a century. IMA World Health was founded in 1960 by a coalition of faith-based organizations, including Lutheran World Relief, to provide medical supplies to the world’s poorest populations. Over the years, IMA World Health has provided $75 million in medical-related materials to Lutheran programs and has evolved to become a comprehensive public health agency.

In addition to our ongoing work serving more than 35 million people around the world, the combined agency is expanding programs to improve water and sanitation and thwart cholera in Haiti, prevent the spread of Ebola along the Ugandan-Congolese border, and provide treatment for pediatric and cervical cancer in Tanzania.

The two organizations’ financial strength and complementary work in public health, rural livelihoods and emergency relief greatly extends the unified agency’s reach throughout the world, Speckhard said.

“We’re making this historic move to better serve the world’s most vulnerable communities,” he said. “We will have a much greater impact together than we ever could have apart in the goal of ending extreme poverty and hunger and building healthy communities.”

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