Key Yemen hospital on brink of closure

Key Yemen hospital on brink of closure
A hospital serving 3 million people in Sanaa faces imminent closure, putting the lives of thousands of children significantly at risk, said global charity Save the Children on Sunday.
2 min read
31 August, 2015
Experts fear Yemen's healthcare system is on the verge of collapse [Anadolu]

A key hospital for children and preganant women in Yemen's Houthi-held territories treating children and pregnant women could close in the next few days due to a supply shortage, Save the Children has warned on Sunday.

A pro-government coalition blockade on the Houthi-alliance territories has stopped vital medical equipment and drugs from reaching doctors at the Hodeida hospital. This means that millions of children and pregnant women in the area will be left without access to healthcare.

"Critical fuel shortages and a lack of medical supplies could force the al-Sabeen Hospital to shut its doors within 48 hours," the humanitarian organisation said late Sunday.

The hospital supported by Save the Children is the main facility for children and pregnant women in the area, and serves an estimated three million people, the organisation said in a statement.

The Saudi-led coalition, which mounted an air campaign against Iran-backed rebels late March in support of exiled President Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has imposed a blockade on areas controlled by the joint rebel force of Zaydi-Shia Houthi tribes and army loyalists to former President Abdullah Ali Saleh.

The hospital was reliant on the Red Sea port of Hodeida for 90 percent of its imports, Save the Children said.

"The hospital has entirely run out of IV fluid, anaesthetic, blood transfusion tests, Valium to treat seizures and ready-prepared therapeutic food for severely malnourished children," the statement said citing the hospital's deputy manager Halel al-Bahri.

Bloody losses

Fuel that the hospital acquired from the black market was enough to run power generators for two more days, he said.

Across Yemen, 15.2 million people are lacking access to basic healthcare, an increase of 40 percent since March, the organisation warned.

More than half a million children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition this year, and there has been a 150 percent increase in hospital admissions for malnutrition since March, it said.

"It is crucial that enough medicines, supplies and fuel are able to get in to the country, otherwise the number of children dying from treatable illnesses is only going to get bigger," said Edward Santiago, Save the Children's Yemen director.

On Wednesday, the UN health agency said that medical and blood bank supplies were urgently needed, while civilians injured in the war had fewer places to go for treatment as nearly half of Yemen's medical facilities have closed.

Four out of five Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance, while displacement of people and other factors have led to communicable diseases such as typhoid to become rampant in some areas of the country.