Health organisations, government battle cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen

Health organisations, government battle cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen
More than $13.4 million in medical supplies has been sent to Yemen, as the World Health Organisation announces a new partnership to battle the cholera outbreak in the war-torn country.
2 min read
25 October, 2016
More than $13.4 million worth of supplies have been provided by the UAE [AFP]
More than 1,000 suspected cholera cases have been reported across war-torn Yemen, according to the World Health Organisation, which noted at least 3 deaths amid the escalating epidemic.

In Yemen’s third largest city of Taiz, 268 cases have been reported, while Aden has seen 258 cases, 151 in Lahj and 141 in Hodeidah, the WHO said.

The organisation – which has worked extensively in Yemen throughout the two-year conflict – announced it is stepping up its fight against cholera by partnering with Yemen’s Ministry of Health, as well as UNICEF Yemen, to take “necessary health measures to stop transmission & prevent the spread of cholera to other areas.

Meanwhile, the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) delivered urgent medical supplies to hospitals in Aden to prevent the spread of the bacterial disease, according to the Gulf state’s WAM news agency.

It also noted two recent cooperation agreements worth more than $13.4 million to develop Yemen’s deteriorating health sector in partnership with the WHO.

The WHO said earlier that the scarcity of potable water has worsened the hygiene situation in Yemen, fuelling a marked increase in cases of severe diarrhoea, in particular among people displaced from their homes in the centre of the country. 

UNICEF said health professionals in Sanaa had also reported several cases, as had medics in the besieged Taiz.

It said its team was working with doctors in Yemen to establish the cause of the outbreak and called on international donors to provide funding to work to improve the health situation there.

UNICEF said that cholera, a disease that is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhoea, could prove fatal in up to 15 percent of untreated cases.

The agency says nearly three million people in Yemen are in need of immediate food supplies, while 1.5 million children suffer malnutrition, including 370,000 enduring very severe malnutrition that weakens their immune system.

The conflict between Yemen's government and the Houthi rebels escalated last year with the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

The UN says more than 10,000 people have been killed and more than three million displaced by fighting in Yemen since March 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign to battle the rebels.