US-Saudi aggression responsible for death of children with leukemia
Yemeni officials hold the Saudi-led coalition's blockade of Yemen responsible for the tragic death of over 18 children injected with expired cancer medicine.
At least 10 children with leukemia passed away in a hospital in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa last Friday after they were injected with contaminated cancer medicine smuggled from abroad.
Commenting on this tragedy, the head of the Salvation Government in Sanaa, Abdulaziz bin Habtoor, described the deaths of the children as a national disaster, holding the US-Saudi aggression responsible.
“Laboratory tests showed the presence of high-risk bacterial contamination in the batch of medicine given to children with leukemia, and investigations are being followed up by the highest levels in the country,” Health Minister Taha Al-Mutawakel said.
He stated that the Ministry of Health sent memos to the UN Assistant Secretary-General and the World Health Organization's representative, urging them to send a number of medical supplies that are currently unavailable in the country for the treatment of leukemia.
Dr. Anis Al-Asbahi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, has also blamed the US-Saudi aggression for the deterioration of the Yemeni people's health as a result of the blockade and restrictions on the entry of medicines and medical supplies.
"The disaster that claimed the lives of children in Kuwait Hospital is a result of the blockade and the failure to open Sana'a International Airport as required," he said.
"The cause of the disaster in Kuwait Hospital was a contaminated batch that was smuggled after the stocks of oncological medicine were depleted from the warehouses of the Ministry of Health and the National Center for Oncology," he stressed.
It is worth noting that the Sanaa government's Health Ministry announced in a statement last Friday that 19 children in the Kuwait Hospital in Sanaa being treated for leukemia, and with ages ranging between 3 to 15, suffered from complications after they were given medicine that had been smuggled to a privately-owned pharmacy.
According to an official medical source in Sanaa, the drug was past its expiration date, and the children passed away right after being injected. The source also noted that the number could be higher than the one stated by authorities, as there are 50 children in that same ward.
Cancer patients have doubled
Earlier this year, the Sanaa government's Health Minister, Taha Al-Mutawakel, said Yemen's number of cancer patients has doubled as a result of aggressive attacks and the Saudi-led siege on the country.
He explained that more than 60,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed in oncology centers, with a lack of medicine and equipment and the increase in children with leukemia described as alarming.
More than 3,000 children in Yemen are at risk of death due to the blockade and more than 2,000 children with diseases are deprived of necessary care.