World Health Organization raises alarm on Yemen healthcare crisis

The WHO report comes as 21 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance after well over a year of devastating fighting in the country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Over seven million children in Yemen are in need of medical care.

The people of Yemen have been suffering from the destruction brought by a civil war between the country’s Saudi-backed government and the Iran-allied Houthi rebels for over a year-and-a-half.

So far at least 7,070 people have been killed and 36,818 others injured in the conflict, while at least 21 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian assistance – and things are getting worse.

The World Health Organization on Sunday released a survey stating that less than half of healthcare facilities in the Gulf state are fully functional. Out of the health facilities surveyed, 274 have been damaged in the fighting.

"There are no medical doctors in 49 out of 276 surveyed districts, and only 2 doctors or less in 42 percent of surveyed districts," according to the report.

The lack of access to adequate healthcare is worsening an already dire humanitarian situation.

The result of all this is that "a full package of health care services is fully available in only in 37 percent of health facilities."

This means that many of the "more than 14 million people," including 7.4 million children, in Yemen, who are in need of urgent medical care, are unable to access treatment for chronic conditions or other health concerns, and there is a higher risk of disease outbreaks such as cholera and malaria.

In early October Yemen’s Health Ministry announced a cholera outbreak in the country’s capital Sanaa. The WHO reported that the number of suspected cases of the disease had risen to 1,400 by the end of the month.

The lack of access to adequate healthcare is worsening an already dire humanitarian situation.

According to the UN, more than 2.1 million people in Yemen have been internally displaced, while over 14 million are struggling to feed themselves. Thirteen million do not have access to clean water while at least 370,000 children in the country are at risk of starvation, it says.

TRTWorld and agencies