US-Saudi Aggression Leading to Collapse in Yemeni Health System
Five years have passed since the aggression and the unjust siege imposed on Yemen by the US-Saudi Aggression, which caused the collapse of the health system in light of the slowdown in international organizations in the health response.
The coalition of aggression has destroyed the infrastructure of the health sector, leading to the spread of diseases and epidemics and depriving millions of citizens of basic health care. The countries of aggression did not only bombard and destroy but imposed a blockade on the entry of medical supplies and life-saving drugs, especially those with chronic diseases and prevented patients from traveling to receive treatment abroad.
A report issued by the Ministry of Public Health and Population has confirmed that the indicators of the collapse of the health system in Yemen were the direct destruction of the aerial aggression of health facilities, where the number of totally and partially destroyed facilities reached more than 600.
The report pointed out that the health sector losses amounted to ten billion dollars, pointing out that 93 percent of medical devices and equipment has expired and may stop at any moment, as a result of the blockade and not allowing the import of modern ones.
The report says that the collapse of the health sector is also evident in the fact that more than 48,000 employees in the sector at the central and local levels do not receive their salaries, as well as the interruption of many doctors and employees due to displacement and economic conditions, in addition to the suspension of facilities.
According to the report, there are eight thousand patients with kidney failure and thousands of patients with cancer, diabetes, heart and other diseases, in addition to 40 thousand patients with cancer tumors who are at risk of death as a result of not introducing the radiation device for the treatment of tumors, pointing to the death of 50% of patients with tumors as a result of the lack of medicines due to the siege .
The report stated that there is no cardiac cauterization system in Yemen, especially after the failure of the only device at Al-Thawra General Hospital, the absence of cardiac stents for more than 30 thousand patients and the absence of valves for more than 30 thousand patients.
The report confirmed the death and injury of more than 40 thousand civilians, including 7200 children and more than 800 children with disabilities as a result of the direct shelling of the aerial aggression.
The report pointed out that a thousand children in Yemen die daily as a result of the aggression, the blockade and the lack of equipment and medicines, indicating that, according to reports by international organizations, 150,000 children die in Yemen annually.
The aggression also destroyed projects related to the environment, such as water and sanitation, leading to the spread of malnutrition and the emergence of epidemics like cholera, diphtheria and currently dengue and malaria, while support from international organizations to the health sector has decreased.
The report indicated that the number of cholera cases is about two million two hundred thousand people, of whom about three thousand and 750 people died, children represent 32% of them while there are 34 thousand and 520 cases of measles, of which 273 cases died, 65% of them children.
According to the report, the number of patients with diphtheria patients reached four thousand and 500 patients, of whom 253 died. Children under five years of age represented about 16%. Indicating that there are 2.9 million children under the age of five who are malnourished out of 5.4 million children, which is 55%, 400,000 are children with severe acute malnutrition.
The report pointed out that 86 percent of children under the age of five suffer from one type of anemia, 46% of children suffer from stunting. There are 80 thousand children with mental disorders due to the sounds of planes and missile explosions.
The report stated that six newborns die every two hours due to the deterioration of health care services, and 65 children under five out of a thousand children die due to some type of disease, noting that 320,000 patients were unable to receive treatment abroad due to the closure of Sana’a International Airport, about 42,000 patients died, including 30% of children.
Regarding the blockade of the pharmaceutical sector, the report indicated that the US-Saudi aggression and the blockade have caused the unavailability of 12 types of drugs of chronic diseases, especially cancer, in addition to the aggression’s targeting of a drug factory and destroying two oxygen-producing plants, besides the low rate of drug import.
The aggression and the embargo also impeded the transfer of more than 362 types of drugs, banned some medical materials necessary for the pharmaceutical industry, prevented their entry and impeded the arrival of shipments of medicines and medical supplies that were granted documents of importation, as well as the imposition of arbitrary procedures to enter ships loaded with medicines, causing their expiry.
The report stated that the activity of hundreds of importers was interrupted, drug prices were disrupted by the exchange rate, more than 50% of pharmacists have lost their jobs and investment activity stopped, especially in the pharmaceutical industry.
In the face of these massive and terrifying numbers, the Minister of Public Health and Population Dr. Taha Al-Mutawakkil renewed the demand to stop the aggression, lift the siege, open Sana’a International Airport and allow patients to travel for treatment abroad.
He called on the United Nations to speed up the operation of an air bridge to save patients, people with tumors and diseases threatening their lives for treatment abroad.
He stressed that the United Nations has not yet sent any plane to rescue patients in need of treatment abroad, especially children.
The Minister stated that the United Nations and the World Health Organization have renounced humanitarian medical flights abroad from Sana’a airport.
He denounced the United Nations tampering with the suffering of the Yemenis, blaming the World Health Organization for legal and moral responsibility for such irresponsible actions.
He reaffirmed that the continued closure of the Sana’a airport is a crime against humanity and a clear violation of international and humanitarian laws and covenants.
The Minister of Health called on the United Nations and international organizations not to turn a blind eye to this catastrophic tragedy that has claimed the lives of thousands of citizens and continues to take the lives of other thousands, calling for serious action to lift the ban on Sana’a International Airport.
Regarding the support provided by health organizations operating in Yemen to the health sector for 2019, Al-Mutawakkil said in a press conference that international organizations have implemented only 19% of the health response plan with a deficit of more than 81%.
He pointed out that the response from international organizations on the infrastructure side did not exceed 9%, while the response to the need in terms of equipment was only 4%, in medicines the response rate was 22%, operational expenditures were 14%, training was 20% and referral was 9%.
The Minister of Health confirmed that the organizations are operating in violation of the laws and agreements, saying, “We addressed the organizations, especially UNICEF, to reject these measures.” He pointed out that many of the in-kind assistance provided by the organizations is expired, such as medicines, including what was returned from Sana’a airport, especially insulin.
“There are very poor medical supplies that are not working properly and we sent a note to the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande that the devices should be suitable for use in the medical field and from reliable sources and they have maintenance guarantees, but we did not receive any response from her.”
Al-Mutawakkil stated that the coalition of aggression refused to introduce a radiation device for oncology patients, which means threatening the lives of 40,000 cancer patients.
The Minister of Health pointed out that there is no diagnostic magnetic resonance device in government facilities and it has not been allowed to enter the country, as organizations consider that this device contains helium gas as it is used in military industries. He pointed out that a note was sent to the World Health Organization to introduce resonance devices in which this gas is not used. However, the request has not received any response so far and the patients are constantly dying.
He stated that there are some international organizations that have responded to some needs in relation to patients with kidney failure, including the World Health Organization. “However, the organization has not yet provided the agreed upon the second stage, where only 48 of 103 washing machines were provided, as well as 200 thousand solutions were not provided for washing sessions,” he added.
The Minister of Health expressed his hope to continue providing session solutions and dialysis machines, stressing that the organizations were asked to introduce medications for dialysis sessions, especially heparin, but it was not introduced.
The reality remains the best testimony to the scale of the catastrophe that the health sector, the most important for the survival of the human being, has reached. Whoever survived the aggression raids will die due to epidemics and diseases or due to the search for medical care and medicine.