Health Desk: 04 April 2018: It takes Aisha Jaafar one hour to reach the main health centre in Aslam district, Hajjah governorate, one of the most impoverished and remote areas of Yemen.
The journey through bumpy and mountainous roads is necessary, as this mother is desperate to get treatment for her 4-year-old daughter, Yusra, whose tiny body is weakened by acute malnutrition and bloody diarrhoea.
Like thousands of Yemenis, Aisha cannot afford the cost of transportation to the nearest health centre. At times, she has no choice but to keep her sick daughter at home.
Recently, the WHO Representative to Yemen Dr. Nevio Zagaria visited 4 districts in Hajjah plagued by poverty and fatal diseases. The aim of the visit was to discuss urgent health needs with local health authorities, enhance partnerships and scale-up WHO support to health needs for people living in remote areas.
“People here struggle to receive even basic health services. As a result, malnutrition rates in this neglected part of the country are increasing. I was moved by the suffering of children on the verge of starvation, carried by their helpless mothers,” said Dr. Zagaria.
In August 2016, WHO established its hub office in Hudaydah to further enhance WHO interventions in Hudayda and neighboring governorates, including Hajjah.
Since then, WHO has established four diarrhoea treatment centres and 14 oral rehydration corners to fight the spread of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea in the governorate. WHO also supports main hospitals in the governorate with essential medicines, fuel, and water to keep them functioning. Five therapeutic feeding centres in five districts have also been set up, and fixed medical teams are working in six districts.
An estimated 16.4 million Yemenis are in desperate need of healthcare. Through its Minimum Service Package, WHO aims to deliver basic health services to all people in need in Yemen, despite the ongoing conflict.