WHO responds to Yemen crisis
9 June 2011--As violence in Yemen escalated last week with fighting in the capital Sana'a leaving 29 dead and 113 injured, WHO is assisting health providers to cope with the increased demand for health services, particularly emergency health care.
Since February, this brings the combined total number of casualties in Yemen, from both demonstration related violence and fighting, to 262 deaths and 3287 injured.
Crisis affecting health situation
The limited number of trained health workers and the shortage of trauma management equipment and supplies are affecting the treatment of victims.
The security situation prevents health workers from reporting to work. An estimated 30% of the population, mostly elderly women and children, face difficulties in accessing health services.
The crisis has also interrupted regular health programmes for primary health care, especially for children, reproductive health and vaccination.
In addition, the acute shortage of fuel and electricity threatens the cold chain for vaccination storage.
The WHO Office is maintaining close contact with all parties and supporting the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and volunteer groups in delivering life-saving health services.
In order to treat the victims of violence in different demonstration areas, advance medical post and field hospitals have been established and referral facilities strengthened.
Since the beginning of the crisis in February, WHO has delivered close to 46 tons of life-saving emergency medicines and supplies across the country. An additional 20 tons of medicines and supplies from Dubai reached Sana’a last Friday.
Essential life-saving equipment was also provided to several hospitals, strengthening the capacity of operation theatres (OT) and intensive care units (ICU).
WHO has supported the MoPH to keep 33 ambulances functional 24/7 by providing incentives for staff and ensuring vehicle maintenance and fuel. As they are located close to the demonstration sites, ambulances have been able to provide services to more than 2500 injured people. They proved crucial last week when over 100 injured people were reached quickly and transported to the nearest health facility.
In addition, the WHO mobile team comprising one male doctor and one female nurse has delivered primary health care services in Aden to some 10 000 displaced persons from Abyan region since 30 May.
Additional funding needed
The initial funding needs for the Health Cluster for Yemen for 2011 are covered at 21%, with US$ 2.9 million received of the US$ 13.7 million requested. The ongoing crisis significantly increased financial requirements.
WHO technical support needs to be continued. The large quantity of emergency medicines and supplies requires appropriate management, distribution and monitoring. The ongoing technical support for training health workers in mass casualty management must be continued and strengthened.
Additional funding is needed to strengthen advance health posts and field hospitals in terms of equipment, trauma care management and ensuring the appropriate number and gender representation within the health workforce.
The capacity of the emergency department, OTs and ICUs of the referral hospital should also be further developed. Additional funding would also allow for the expansion of the ambulance services.
For more information:
Media and Advocacy Officer
Health Action in Crises
World Health Organization
Mobile: +41 793 676 214
Tel: +41 22 791 5099