Eight years of prolonged conflict in Yemen leave over 20 million people in need of urgent health assistance

The World Health Organization issued a report indicating the difficult health situation in Yemen, the report said, that With 8 years of protracted conflict and humanitarian crisis, over two thirds of Yemen’s population – 21.6 million people – are in acute need of humanitarian assistance, including over 20 million people requiring urgent health assistance.

The country’s health system continues to fall short of meeting the population’s needs. Only 54% of health facilities are fully functioning, while 46% are only partially operating or entirely out of service.

“The world cannot continue to ignore Yemen. We call on expanded and sustained international support to health systems and the brave frontline health workers. I witnessed firsthand the suffering, illness, and death of innocent civilians caught up in this crisis when I visited the country. Our ultimate goal is to build a safer and healthier future for all Yemenis. Yet health can’t be attained without peace. Peace is possible and it is the only solution but needs everyone’s commitment,” says Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Overstretched health facilities are barely providing the most basic services as they struggle with lack of staff, funds, electricity, medicines, supplies and medical equipment.

Health workers are paid less than in previous years due to the severe funding shortfall, leaving health facilities facing a continuous decline in health capacities. Yemeni health workers have been serving selflessly. Millions of children and families depend on them for hope, healing, and survival.

The war – with its depressing stories of the destruction of homes, loss of lives, youth disabled, displacement, economic deterioration, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, cholera and other outbreaks, and recurrent natural disasters – have taken an enormous toll on people’s resilience and their mental health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) together with Health Cluster partners in Yemen, is appealing for US$ 392 million to reach 12.9 million people with essential health assistance in 2023.

WHO’s longstanding response with support from donors and partners to the people in Yemen has been instrumental in saving lives and averting the imminent collapse of the health system, following an integrated approach to sustain priority health interventions.

These include supporting over 4500 health care facilities and national laboratories with supplies, medicines, fuel, water, sanitation and hygiene services; coordinating the national Health Cluster; keeping therapeutic feeding centres operational; and strengthening disease surveillance to respond to all infectious disease outbreaks.

Moreover, WHO has been able to improve the delivery of mental health and psychosocial support services. Since 2021, more than 3500 health care staff, first responders, frontline workers, schoolteachers, and child protection and gender-based violence case managers have been trained in mental health and psychosocial support.

WHO remains fully committed to supporting the health and welfare of the Yemeni people under the regional vision and spirit of health for all by all calling for solidarity and action. During a period of multiple crises and needs across the Region and the planet, WHO appeals for more attention to the continued plight of the people of Yemen and calls for more assistance for one of the world’s most neglected crisis.

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