The Crisis In Yemen

An unprecedented emergency is unfolding in Yemen with the advent of COVID-19, within the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, according to the UN. There are over 14 million people at risk of starvation and outbreaks of deadly diseases. Five years of conflict has led to widespread destruction of hospitals, healthcare facilities, water, and sanitation systems, and caused over 230,000 deaths, primarily due to lack of clean water, food, and healthcare services. The COVID-19 outbreak in Yemen, within the current alarming frail healthcare and infrastructure, will have a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people in Yemen.

According to IRC, years of conflict has decimated Yemen’s health system, leaving only half of the country’s health facilities fully functional. The entire country has only 380 ventilators and 710 ICU beds for a population of around 30 million and faces a severe shortage of oxygen – a critical frontline treatment. In Aden, there are just 60 hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 and 18 ventilators – all of which are already in constant use. According to MSF, the ICU In Sana’a, only has 15 beds, which in recent weeks, has been at full capacity.

Taif Fares gasped for air in the intensive care unit of the al-Sadaqa Hospital in Aden, Yemen. She was born with a heart disorder requiring constant care. The girl died a few days after this photo was taken. May 21, 2018. Credit: Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post.

A patient in a hospital bed in Yemen.

The Yemeni people are facing extremely vulnerable conditions and have been suffering from severe malnutrition and dying from outbreaks of preventable diseases. Now, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the people and there are no health facilities to provide care for them, as a result of an overwhelmed health care system with limited capacities and shortages of supplies. This could lead to a catastrophic death toll.

UOSSM USA wants to establish and support two ICU centers in Sana’a and Aden. The ICU centers would help provide life-saving support to those who need it most Each ICU center will include 20 beds, and all required medical equipment. Each will cost approximately $180,000 to purchase; this includes logistics and delivery. UOSSM USA is working in collaboration with diplomats in humanitarian relief to ensure the delivery of the equipment and medical supplies for the support of the 2 ICU centers in Sana’a and Aden. Time is of the essence as currently, logistics to deliver the ICU center is guaranteed. UOSSM USA is also working in collaboration with the UOSSM office in Turkey for the acquisition of the equipment necessary for the two centers, and with diplomats, coordinating with the UN, to ensure delivery of the ICU centers to the designated areas of need.

This initiative is not possible without your support. This is an urgent matter that is time sensitive with the spread of COVID-19.  Millions of lives are at risk.

We CAN do more! With your support we will continue to expand this initiative to continue providing critical care to the most vulnerable, providing medical supplies, and supporting doctors in Yemen with any medical capacity building needed. YOUR help is vital to make this happen.

Dr. Ahmad Dbais, UOSSM Safety and Security Director visits a hospital in Yemen assessing the medical needs of people. UOSSM conducted a medical mission to Yemen in 2019. UOSSM doctors from North America and Europe provided medical training and capacity building sessions of Yemenis doctors and medical staff.