Humanitarian Health Action

Yemen: maintaining health care for displaced populations

Monthly Highlights - February 2011

WHO staff in a camp for displaced people in Sa'ada Governorate (2009)
WHO Yemen
Camp for displaced people in Sa'ada Governorate (2009)

Over the past years, repeated internal conflicts and clashes (conflict in the north, secessionist movement in the south and terrorist threats) have disrupted the provision of basic services, including health care services.

Only about 30% of the 320 000 people internally displaced (IDPs) by the outbreak of fighting in Sa’ada Governorate in August 2009 have returned to their homes. Humanitarian needs for them, those people who have returned and all conflict-affected populations remain very high.

WHO’s support to the Ministry of Public Health and Population

WHO and the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPHP) are co-leading the Health Cluster both in the capital Sana’a and in Harad Governorate. The Cluster in Harad identifies needs and gaps at the local level and follows up on the implementation and monitoring of activities.

A health working group was set up in Aden Governorate for the south, and another is planned for Amran Governorate. Currently, limited access to Al Jawf Governorate prevents the establishment of a similar group there.

Under the leadership of WHO, Health Cluster partners in the north are providing health care to affected populations: 100% of the people living in camps have access to primary health care services. The coverage outside the camps remains lower due to poor access.

Health Cluster priority areas

  • Health service delivery
  • Outbreak prevention and control
  • Early recovery and rehabilitation of health systems
  • Coordination of health response

As of 3 March 2011, the Health Cluster has received 56% (US$ 6.45 million) of the amount requested in the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2010. In the Plan for 2011, the Health Cluster listed 11 projects from eight partners for US$ 13.6 million.

Recent Health Cluster achievements

  • A standardized package of primary health care services.
  • A standardized package of reproductive health service, with reporting indicators.
  • A standardized disease reporting format for all partners.
  • An integrated vaccination campaign completed in 2010, with a second round planned for early 2011 (which will include a de-worming campaign for IDPs in and around camps).

Recent WHO activities

WHO focuses on reinforcing coordination among partners in Sa’ada and Harad and on assessing gaps. In coordination with partners, two assessments were conducted recently:

  • a joint WHO-UNFPA assessment on reproductive health needs in Harad in December 2010,
  • a joint WHO-MoPHP comprehensive health assessment in Sa’ada, in preparation for the implementation of early recovery projects.


  • Access to conflict affected areas.
  • Lack of funding. Minimal funds have been secured for 2011. Additional funds are needed to maintain the level of staffing and scale up activities in less accessible areas.
  • Risk of escalation of the humanitarian emergency. The fragile situation is expected to deteriorate, bringing new risks of disease outbreaks and population displacements, along with problems of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Funding for the contingency plans will be essential to ensure adequate response capacities in case of emergency.

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