ICRC: A mother, 6 children die every 2 hours due healthcare shortages
Access to healthcare in Yemen has become so limited, dire, and overwhelmingly urgent.
Yemen, devastated by the war which has destroyed the livelihoods of millions and claimed the lives of thousands, is also experiencing a deteriorating healthcare system that has barred women and girls from access to essential healthcare services and infrastructure. An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report depicts that.
Along with decreasing funds and aid from humanitarian organizations largely as a result of the Saudi blockade on Yemeni ports and airspace, less than 50% of births are attended by health care professionals, according to UNICEF.
Every 2 hours, a mother and 6 newborns die due to pregnancy and childbirth complications that are easily preventable if Yemenis have access to health care.
“It’s a miracle that I’m still alive after my last childbirth”, said Najla, who is from Taiz. “I had complications during labor, was at home and all nearby health facilities were shut down because of the violent clashes. Luckily a nurse lived nearby, she helped me deliver my baby and saved both our lives.”
Among the 4.2 million displaced in Yemen since 2015, 73% are women and children.
The report contends that women and children experience the most economic and social vulnerabilities.
“The pain is unbearable!” said Moghniya, who is a single mother suffering from late-stage cancer, also living in a refugee camp in Swaida, Marib. “I was assigned to a cancer center in Mukalla, hundreds of kilometers away. I couldn’t afford transportation between treatment sessions and bear the long travel required. Now, I’m just sitting in my tent, waiting for death to release me from my agony.”
According to the report, over 20.1 million people from a population of 30.5 million lack access to basic health care, and only 51% of total health care facilities are functional in the country.
Nabiha Ahmad, the supervisor of the main public dialysis center in Aden, said that “Women who lost husbands over years of conflict became hesitant to travel to seek health support, especially if they live in rural areas, as they fear getting attacked or harassed on their way."
“During the past years, many of our female patients suffering from kidney failure, particularly those living in remote areas, died in their homes because they couldn’t reach the center in time for their live-saving periodic treatment," remarked Ahmad.
In another testimony to the violence inflicted on women and children, Saida, who is a 45-year-old teacher from Aden, suffers from kidney failure and needs minimally two dialysis sessions a week. “On many occasions during the peak of violence, I had the choice of either staying home and die from illness or risk getting caught in crossfire while trying to reach the nearest dialysis center,’’ she said. ‘’Even during calm periods, it remains complicated, particularly for us women.”