Doa’a Kutbi looks back on her three and a half years with International Medical Corps in the southern port...
March 21, 2017 – Blog Entry #6 Editor’s note: In the month that marks the the second anniversary of...
Yemen’s civil war, now in its third year, has brought a steady deterioration of humanitarian conditions, leaving more than 3 million displaced. Hunger and food insecurity are major concerns with a quarter of the country’s 27 million population live on the brink of starvation, while an estimated 3.3 million children and nursing mothers are acutely malnourished. This number includes nearly one-half million children under 5 years of age.
Humanitarian conditions deteriorated further last spring when a cholera outbreak took hold in late April, 2017. By early November the World Health Organization had reported over 900,000 suspected cases extending over all but one of the country’s 23 governorates. International Medical Corps serves areas of Yemen with some of the most pressing humanitarian needs. Deteriorating conditions present major challenges to bring sufficient aid supplies into the country because of a civil war now in its third year. Once aid arrives in the country, the precarious security conditions hamper its distribution. Widespread, severe damage to infrastructure has restricted access to many areas, including southern parts of the country. Over half of Yemen’s health facilities are no longer functional, and with the government now unable to support the health system, it is on the verge of collapse. With no sign of an end to the violence, humanitarian conditions are expected to deteriorate further as 2017 progresses.
Health authorities have struggled for years to control chronic malnutrition in Yemen but the ongoing civil, now in its third year, has caused food security conditions to worsen dramatically.Learn More
Food shortages in Yemen are growing worse
Nearly 15 million Yemenis lack access to basic health care
The toll of Yemen’s civil war includes 7,500 dead and more than 40,000 wounded
With fewer than half the country’s health care facilities still operating after more than two years of war, International Medical Corps is supporting hospitals and clinics in five governorates across Yemen—Sana’a, Ibb, Taizz, Aden and Lahj. To do this, we support government-run primary health care centers still operating and also provide mobile medical units and additional static services. The strategy seeks to rebuild local confidence in community-level government services rather than create an unsustainable parallel system. A major part of our support includes supplies of medicines, pharmaceutical and other equipment as well as nutrition commodities. We are also training local health workers to expand their skills and knowledge. Our mobile teams in all supported governorates serve especially vulnerable communities and internally displaced groups who have limited or no access to government health facilities.
In April 2017, International Medical Corps supported 77 health facilities and 14 mobile health clinics. We work closely with local community health volunteers to increase their capacity to raise awareness how to access essential lifesaving health care services. Through local staff training, particularly around topics such as first aid, infection control and other basic services, our goal is to build the long-term capacity of community-based health workers to respond themselves to Yemen’s growing malnutrition crisis and emergency health needs that accompany the present conflict.
In response to Yemen’s hunger crisis, we provide treatment for Severe and Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate and Acute Malnutrition (MAM) cases at more than 40 community-level health facilities and with mobile clinics in Sana’a, Taizz, Lahj and Aden governorates. We offer training, essential drugs and nutrition commodities needed to operate outpatient therapeutic programs. In a country that has long struggled with food shortages and chronic malnutrition, the effects of civil war and a blockade of major ports has exacerbated conditions to a point where nearly a quarter of Yemen’s 27 million people face the threat of famine.
On average, International Medical Corps reaches over 13,000 individuals per month with health and nutrition education, 80% of them female. In Taizz, we are implementing emergency livelihoods and livelihoods restoration programs to rebuild livestock herds lost by vulnerable households during the conflict.
International Medical Corps also treats nearly 3,800 children under 5 years-old in our outpatient and inpatient nutrition programs each month, as well as 1,400 pregnant or nursing women per month in our supplementary feeding programs. In addition, we provide an average of nearly 2,000 food-insecure households with acutely malnourished children monthly vouchers as part of our food assistance programs designed to improve household food consumption and dietary diversity.
An estimated 14.4 million people in Yemen are currently in need of safe drinking water, basic sanitation and hygiene. For 8 million of those, the need is acute. International Medical Corps’ WASH interventions target mainly beneficiaries of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programming, including children and their caretakers who have been discharged from a CMAM program after receiving hygiene education, hygiene kits and water filters. These individuals are—by definition—among the most vulnerable members of a community whose risk of communicable and WASH-related diseases is significantly heightened because of their diminished access to water and/or lack of household and personal hygiene items.
International Medical Corps also provides emergency water trucking to selected hospitals and health facilities, easing the lack of water supply at the secondary care level. This helps address the lack of adequate water supply. Water shortages can directly impact a hospitals’ ability to perform emergency and lifesaving services, including surgeries, obstetric care, and infection control measures.
A central component of International Medical Corps’ programming in Yemen is regular training on health, nutrition and WASH issues to ensure quality services in line with recognized standards and protocols. Training includes infectious disease prevention, (most recently Dengue fever and cholera); emergency obstetric and newborn care, maternal and child health; immunization; and reproductive health.
During the current emergency, International Medical Corps is also providing training in first aid, resuscitation of trauma patients, their safe transport and referral to facilities offering secondary level healthcare. International Medical Corps also provides training for clinical and non-clinical staff, community health volunteers and government and non-government workers.
Our livestock restoration work includes training to help families rebuild productive herds of sheep or goats lost as a result of conflict and displacement.
As Yemen’s civil war approaches its third year with no end in sight, wide spread devastation has forced millions from their home, and the worsening nutrition situation is threatening more lives than ever before. Mothers and young children are among those most seriously affected. Doa’a Kutbi, a health program officer who works from International Medical Corps’ office in Aden, has been caught up in the conflict from the beginning.READ MORE