Around 500,000 suspected cases of cholera since April, and approximately 2,000 deaths, communities across Yemen are in urgent need of assistance. Following years of conflict, only half of the health facilities are functioning. The ongoing food crisis in the country has also led to a dramatic rise in malnutrition, putting the young and old at particular risk of diseases such as cholera.
Photos: Maria Korkunc/Norwegian Red Cross
Red Crescent volunteers and staff are working around the clock to stop the spread of cholera, and to treat people who are sick. Without treatment for malnutrition, more people will fall ill, and children who survive cholera will be even further malnourished.
Mishair Abdullah rushed her daughter Bayan to the al-Sabeen hospital once she started to show symptoms of cholera. Within an hour of treatment at the clinic, her two-month-old daughter’s health improved.
Most of the patients in al-Sabeen hospital who are suffering from cholera symptoms are women and children. Karam al-Ghader pictured above arrived with severe cholera symptoms.
Three-year-old Athir Munir arrived to the clinic together with her family. She is sad to be separated from her big brother while he is being treated inside the tent. Her father Ahmad Munir reads an information leaflet provided by Yemen Red Crescent Society about cholera prevention. Red Crescent volunteers support the clinic staff by providing information to patients and their families in an effort to prevent further cases of cholera in the community.
Yemen Red Crescent Society has provided additional tents at the hospital to help meet the growing need for medical care. Nine-year-old Ayman Munir pictured above is one of the patients who has been treated in these additional facilities.
The cholera clinic in Sana’a was opened during the first phase of the outbreak. In addition to raising health awareness, distribution of hygiene kits, soaps, household kits, tents and medical mattresses are ongoing. To help people avoid getting sick, Yemen Red Cross Society volunteers guide people on how to use chlorine tablets to make sure that their drinking water is clean and safe.
Due to the ongoing fighting, less than 30 per cent of the medicine needed in Yemen reaches the country. The little medicine that is available has become too expensive for most people. Medical personnel have been unable to save people’s lives when critical supplies and vital equipment are missing or dysfunctional.
This situation makes the first aid training crucial. Khalid Hamid al-Bethali is first aid trainer for Yemen Red Cross Crescent Society.
Article updated on 26 June 2017 to include updated number of suspected cases and deaths