Emergency Health Care in Yemen’s High-Priority Conflict Zones

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, and ongoing violence further strains its resources. A full-scale war has been raging since March 2015 at enormous cost to Yemen’s people. More than 7% of the population is displaced.

Despite the need, there are no proper camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The country’s infrastructure is crumbling, and hundreds of health facilities have been forced to close due to damage and lack of resources. With a 50% reduction in patient consultations, rates of infectious disease are rising, maternal and child health is declining, vaccinations are limited and access to clean water and sanitary facilities has been reduced. In the Sana’a region, there are only 13 health workers per 10,000 people.

To deliver basic health care, Relief International is working with communities from August 2016 to May 2017 to rebuild and restore six permanent health facilities. Funding from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) allows RI and local partners to train medical staff, provide necessary medical equipment and pharmaceuticals and add basic infrastructure like furniture, running water, waste disposal and refrigerators.

To date, 42 local health professionals have been trained so that healthcare will be sustained in the community long after the end of this project. Of these 42 qualified staff, 24 have been deployed to care for approximately 63,000 people and have vaccinated 7,200 children.

Relief International has also partnered with a local NGO, the National Yemeni Midwives Association (NYMA), to create a network of more than 80 qualified midwives and community health volunteers. These local people work to build awareness in the villages of the services available at the health facilities and to promote knowledge of health – especially maternal and newborn health.