Saudi aggression and siege exacerbate the spread of diseases and epidemics in Yemen

The suffering of citizens is exacerbated by the spread of diseases and epidemics and the lack of medicines, as a result of the continued aggression and blockade imposed on Yemen for nearly eight years by the countries of aggression.

At a time when the United Nations calls on all countries of the world to build national capacities and coordinate national, regional and international efforts to prevent infectious diseases and epidemics and mitigate their effects, it neglects the catastrophic humanitarian situation left by the aggression and blockade on Yemen.

A US-Saudi aggression has been waging a bloody war on Yemen for nearly eight years, which led to the spread of many epidemics and diseases that kill the Yemeni people. The infection rate increased remarkably despite the efforts made by the Ministry of Health and its partners to address it.

The collapse of the health sector system and the spread of epidemics was not enough for them, for they also prevented the entry of diagnostic devices, vital medicines, laboratory reagents and antiserums, in addition to spare parts for sewage treatment plants, which caused the spread of more than 26 diseases and epidemics.

A report issued by the Ministry of Public Health regarding diseases and epidemics during the year 2022 indicated that there were 2.106 million cases suffering from upper respiratory diseases, while the number of people infected with lower respiratory diseases reached 760 thousand and 656 cases, seven of them have dies. The number of cases infected with acute respiratory infections reached 4,550 cases, 322 of them died.

The report stated that there are more than a million cases of watery diarrhea, of which 46 died. In addition, there are 47,550 cases of bloody diarrhea, and 14,508 suspected cholera cases, of which 8 died. The number of typhoid cases reached 196,000, 287 of them died. Regarding measles virus, 18,597 cases were recorded, and 131 have died.

The report indicated that the number of people infected with polio reached 226, and 1,136,360 cases for malaria, 19 of which have died. The dengue fever infected 28,157 cases, of which 37 died, and the number of viral hepatitis B and C cases amounted to 20,248 cases, of which 248 died.

The Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Taha Al-Mutawakel, confirmed that the Saudi-led aggression targeting of the health sector’s infrastructure and water and sanitation sources has caused difficulty in obtaining good health services and clean drinking water, which then resulted in the spread of many epidemics and diseases, including 26 diseases and epidemics the ministry aims to eradicate.

He pointed out that in light of the practices that the aggression coalition intends to commit to increase the suffering of the Yemeni people, the directives of the President of the Supreme Political Council required the concerned authorities to strengthen measures to eliminate epidemics, especially in Al-Hodeidah and the Tihama governorates, which are witnessing a rise in the number of infections with fevers and epidemics, especially in winter.

“The epidemiological situation in Yemen requires a lot of interventions, especially with the continuation of the aggression and siege. Indeed, the health situation is getting worse every year despite the great efforts and continuous field movement of the Ministry of Health and the support provided by organizations, which does not rise to the current needs,” the minister of health said.

Minister Al-Mutawakel called on international organizations working in the health sector to carry out their responsibilities, continue to support the health system and focus on enhancing preparedness for epidemics as a priority, holding the United Nations responsible for the spread of epidemics in Yemen.

He called on the United Nations and its organizations and bodies to put pressure to stop the aggression, lift the blockade, and open Sana’a International Airport in order to work to strengthen measures to prepare for and control epidemics.

For his part, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for the Primary Health Care Sector, Dr. Mohammed Al-Mansour, confirmed that the continuation of the aggression and siege contributed to the spread of epidemics and diseases, especially after the activities and programs of the National Malaria Control Program faltered during the past years, as a result of the scarcity of capabilities.

He touched on the direct and indirect causes that led to the outbreak of epidemics, including aggression and blockade, and the halting of the operational budgets of the health sector, which contributed to the cessation of disease control activities, as well as the cessation of the “malaria-free Arabian Peninsula” grant, which is estimated at about $38 million during the period 2014-2020. In addition, he referred to the damage suffered by the infrastructure of the anti-malaria program as a result of being targeted by the aggression warplanes.

The Undersecretary pointed out that the economic effects of the aggression and the suspension of salaries have greatly affected the ability of citizens to access health services and medical diagnosis.

He indicated that the closure of the ports led to the delay in the arrival of 1.5 million mosquito nets saturated with pesticides and the deprivation of three million civilians of protection from diseases.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health called on international organizations operating in Yemen to bear responsibility by continuing and raising the level of support for the health sector, especially with regard to combating diseases and epidemics.

He held the countries of aggression fully responsible for the deterioration of the health situation and the spread of epidemic diseases in Yemen, calling on the United Nations and its organizations and bodies to pressure the coalition of aggression to lift the blockade and open Sana’a International Airport and the port of Hodeidah in order to work to strengthen procedures for preparing for and controlling epidemics and bringing in medicines and medical supplies.

Since October 2019, Al-Hodeidah Governorate has witnessed a significant increase in the number of cases of celery fever and dengue, as the total suspected cases reached more than 76 thousand cases, while the number of deaths reached 215 cases in all of Yemen, in addition to recording 37 thousand suspected cases and 91 deaths during the first quarter of the year 2020 AD.

A report issued by the Ministry of Health indicated that the total number of suspected cases in Hodeidah during the year 2019 amounted to more than 32,000 suspected cases and 88 deaths, most of which occurred in October, when the wave began in the Al-Jarrahi district and expanded to the northern districts and the city of Hodeidah.

The US-backed Saudi aggression, siege, and epidemics have become the trinity of death that has ravaged the population of Yemen for nearly eight years.

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