Written by: Emma Headrick
Healthcare for children in Yemen has been further devastated by both funding cuts and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the war-torn country. This grave warning comes from Save The Children, a non governmental agency based in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Between January and April of 2020, the number of people with access to child health care services fell by 81 percent, according to recent data. Remaining healthcare resources are now focused on providing COVID-19 services and many families cannot afford to travel to access medical care for other medical issues that may arise amid the already worsening pandemic.
With hospitals and health facilities also facing critical shortages of doctors and nurses, Save The Children says this threatens to leave thousands of children without the medical attention they need to survive.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only threat rendering much of the population helpless when it comes to healthcare.
Along with a cholera outbreak and a pandemic, Yemen is also dealing with a five year civil war and a four year famine, causing many horror stories to unfold in Yemen’s healthcare facilities. One of these horror stories comes from a child protection officer with Save The Children.
“Last week, we tried to provide support to an 11-year-old boy who suffered from a head injury after an airstrike hit his house,” they said. “The family drove for four hours to reach the hospital. The first two days he was able to get some treatment but unfortunately due to the increased admission of COVID-19 patients in the hospital and the severe lack of resources, the child passed away on the third day”.
Less than half of the $627 million needed for the 2020 health response in Yemen has been funded, compromising life-saving work that could be used to help the people of Yemen. Since January, Save the Children has seen a gradual decrease of access to its own health services for children, with a rapid decrease from May onwards. A monthly average of 450 people per clinic could not be treated, including an estimated 207 children suffering from preventable diseases that can be deadly without proper treatment.
The number of malnourished children under five is estimated to reach 2.4 million by the end of this year. Water and sanitation services vital to the health of Yemen’s children are also critically underfunded and could be forced to close indefinitely.
Xavier Joubert, Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen, pleads with all parties involved in the situation to call for a ceasefire in order to focus more on the humanitarian crisis and what can be done to help stop it.
“I hope this wake-up call will not come too late and that donors will make additional commitments, so we can continue to provide assistance to the children of Yemen.” Joubert said.
If you would like to further educate yourself on the crisis happening in Yemen, resources can be found at https://yemencrisis.carrd.co and https://yemenhumancrisis.carrd.co.