Humanitarian Health Action

WHO to provide some of the hardest hit areas of Yemen with desperately needed health supplies and services

Over 350 of essential medical supplies have been delivered by WHO to Yemen
Over 350 of essential medical supplies have been delivered by WHO to Yemen

17 March 2016 -- Since April 2015, continuing violence and insecurity has led to a collapsing health system that has left more than 14 million Yemenis in need of healthcare services. Almost 25% of all health facilities have shut down due to damages, and there are critical shortages of staff and life-saving medicines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to use US$ 8.9 million from a recent Yemen Humanitarian Pooled Fund grant to provide essential health supplies and services to nearly 700 000 people still reeling from last year’s back-to-back cyclones and Yemen’s ongoing conflict.

“Imagine being caught in a conflict with the health system crumbling and then within one week you have two brutal cyclones roll through your country,” Dr Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative to Yemen. “This is what we are still dealing with in parts of Yemen.”

The grant will be used to pay for essential health services and supplies, such as deploying medical and surgical teams, provision of medicines, fuel, trauma and interagency emergency health kits. The grant is the largest that WHO has received to date from UN country-based pooled funds, which unite funds from different donors. Managed locally by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, country-based pooled funds are used to address humanitarian needs and priorities in a particular country, and allocated to different UN agencies, such as WHO, and other partners.

“The Humanitarian Pooled Fund is an effective financing tool, allowing me to respond quickly to the needs of the Yemeni people as the situation unfolds,” said Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “Owing to WHO’s technical expertise and traditional national presence it was deemed best placed to deliver the medical supplies required to save countless lives.”

The governorates of Al Maharah, Hadramout and Shabwah were the hardest hit areas of two cyclones that struck Yemen in November 2015. UN agencies and their partners provided an immediate response, including distributing food, safe water, non-food items, shelter materials and tents, as well as providing medical assistance. However, severe health needs for these three governorates continue.

“This grant allows us to reach some of the hardest hit places of both the cyclones and the conflict at once,” said Dr Shadoul. “They will receive many desperately needed supplies like medicines, vaccines and fuel. This is an excellent example of partnership, but we must do a lot more to consistently help everyone in Yemen to stay healthy until the situation truly improves. Right now we are extending a lifeline to a country that has been battered to the brink by conflict and disaster.”

WHO and partners appeal for unrestricted humanitarian access all areas throughout the country where civilians have been deprived of the basic necessities of life. WHO is working with partners to fill critical gaps in the provision of basic health care, strengthen disease surveillance, distribute medical supplies and deliver life-saving services to mothers and their children.

The Yemen Humanitarian Pooled Fund aims to promote and deliver a strategic and coordinated response towards meeting the highest humanitarian priorities in Yemen and any unforeseen crisis or disaster.

Despite facing significant challenges as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, WHO continues to respond to the increasing health needs of millions of people across the country. Since the beginning of the crisis, WHO has reached more than seven million people in 23 governorates through the provision of medicines, medical supplies, mobile medical teams and mobile clinics including immediate response to governorates affected by Chapala and Megh Cyclones.

More than five million children below the age of five have been vaccinated against polio, measles and rubella by WHO and partners. WHO has also provided more than 19 million litres of safe water and one million litres of fuel to health facilities and camps hosting internally displaced persons during 2015.