Humanitarian Health Action

Growing needs for emergency life-saving health care in Yemen

Monthly Highlights - June 2011

Increasing numbers of people are fleeing Abyan Governorate. According to OCHA, an estimated 10 000 people have sought refuge in Lahij Governorate, 15 000 in Aden Governorate and a further 15 000 are scattered within Abyan. In Lahij, 90% of the displaced are staying with families while those in Aden have mostly found shelter in schools. IDPs in Abyan are staying in schools, public buildings and with host families.

The humanitarian situation in Abyan is deteriorating rapidly. Almost all public services, including health care and water supply, are no longer functioning. Health workers have fled leaving many health facilities unstaffed.

In Aden and Lahij, humanitarian needs are increasing daily. They include shelter, food, water, protection and health care.

Everywhere lack of fuel continues to affect the provision of water and power to health facilities. Lack of power has also disrupted the cold chain.

Diarrhoea outbreak in Abyan Governorate

The diarrhoea outbreak continues in Abyan. Between 7 April and 15 June, Al-Razi Hospital reported 667 cases and Shokra Hospital 75 cases. The actual number is likely to be much higher, but insecurity is preventing data collection. The absence of public services and the disruption of public health programmes are making the task of controlling the outbreak very difficult. WHO is supporting community health volunteers in Abyan to reach the population in the affected areas.

The outbreak could spread to neighbouring Lahij and Aden Governorates.

Consequently, WHO is enhancing the disease surveillance system, establishing rehydration units and maintaining a supply chain of medicines and supplies in Aden,. In consultation with the WASH Cluster, WHO is helping authorities maintain sanitation and drainage in 22 of the schools hosting IDPs. WHO will also install water tanks and pumps for the provision of safe drinking water.

To ensure the provision of health care to displaced population, WHO contracted local partners to set up two mobile clinics in Aden and provided supplies for the management of 100 trauma injuries. In addition, WHO locally procured trauma medicines (analgesic, dressing material, sutures etc.to cover 500 minor injuries) for distribution to field and referral hospitals. In Lahij, WHO is supporting one mobile clinic and providing support to the referral hospital in Al Hota City.

Two interagency health kits, each containing enough primary health care supplies for 30 000 people for one month were dispatched to Aden and Lahij in June.

Additional supplies have been prepositioned in Sana’a to prepare for the potential influx of newly displaced people requiring medical treatment.

The WHO Head of Office visited Aden and Lahij Governorates on 13-17 June to strengthen WHO response operations, enhance coordination and get first hand information on health needs and gaps.

Funding

The initial funding needs for the Health Cluster are covered at 21%. However the crisis has significantly increased the financial requirements. WHO requested US$ 2.2 million from the CERF to respond to the crisis in Abyan Governorate. WHO needs a further US$ 1 million to support emergency medical care to victims of the fighting across Yemen. These funds will be mainly used for the procurement of emergency medical equipment/supplies for hospitals delivering specialized care to victims.

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