Nature Middle East | House of Wisdom

Health situation in Yemen more desperate than ever

The World Health Organisation’s Margaret Chan published a statement this week decrying the health situation in Yemen, in which conflict killed almost 2,000 people, and injured 8,000, according to the latest death and casualty tolls.

Around 8.6 million are in need of urgent medical help, the statement said, adding that although WHO has delivered around 48 tonnes of medicine during a recent ceasefire, this is “vastly insufficient.” The aid can only serve some 400,000 people, and more continue to suffer, “not only from war-related injuries, but from inability to get basic treatment for the most common health conditions, or get obstetric care during childbirth.”

The statement reiterates that lives are lost not just in conflict, but in the throes of an ailing health system, a reality that Nature Middle East‘s correspondent Sophie Cousins has explored in an earlier report on May 4.

Ahmed Shadoul, WHO representative for Yemen, had told Cousins that health facilities are coping with “critical shortages of life-saving medicines, trauma care, and surgical and medical supplies, as well as medical staff to cope with the growing influx of patients.” At the time, the Yemeni ministry of public health and population had predicted that major hospitals will be unable to provide services, perform operations or provide intensive care to patients.

And indeed, WHO’s latest statement reported that hospitals around the country are already closing down their emergency operations rooms and intensive care units due to shortages in staff and fuel for generators. Medicines for diabetes, hypertension and cancer are no longer available, as per the WHO. The National Tuberculosis Programme has shut down in some areas, and infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are spreading.

Outbreaks of polio and measles are also serious risks.

The statement in full can be read here.


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