Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Emirates Red Crescent to provide Dh50.5m to Yemen health projects

The Emirates Red Crescent and the World Health Organisation signed agreements on Wednesday to equip 20 hospitals in Yemen and vaccinate women and children against measles and polio.
An Emirates Red Crescent worker with a tiny patient. The UAE charity is ready to start rebuilding the country’s crisis-hit health system. Wam
An Emirates Red Crescent worker with a tiny patient. The UAE charity is ready to start rebuilding the country’s crisis-hit health system. Wam

ABU DHABI // The Emirates Red Crescent is providing Dh50.5 million in funding for health projects in Yemen that will provide new equipment to hospitals and vaccinate women and children.

The projects are part of an agreement with the World Health Organisation signed on Wednesday that are aimed at tackling the country’s worsening health crisis.

Twenty hospitals across nine governorates will be given new equipment and about 700,000 women and children will be vaccinated against measles and polio.

Last month, UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien called the crisis in Yemen “one of the worst in the world”, with millions of Yemenis lacking basic services such as health care and facing limited supply of medicines.

The conflict in Yemen has left women and children particularly vulnerable, said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of Emirates Red Crescent.

He stressed that the UAE, under the leadership of the President, Sheikh Khalifa, will continue to implement development and humanitarian projects to help Yemenis.

“The UAE is now preparing itself for the most important stage of this process: renovation of infrastructure, particularly in the health sector,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

The hospitals project, which amounts to Dh44.1 million, will cover health institutions in Aden, Taiz, Abyan, Shabwa, Ma’rib, Al Hudayah, Al Mukalla, Seiyun, Hadramaut and Al Maharah governorates.

It also involves care programmes for women, particularly those who are pregnant, and for children with acute malnutrition and disease. Health training and technical support will be provided to develop a referall system for treatment of critical conditions.

The Dh6.5 million vaccinations project will be carried out 11 Yemeni governorates, including Al Jawf, Socotra Island and Lahij. Polio, measles and other vaccinations will be provided to thousands, including more than 100,000 children under a year old, more than 300,000 under age 5, and more than 66,000 pregnant women.

Dr Ahmed Chadol, WHO representative in Yemen, said polio is a focus to prevent the disease from resurfacing in the country, which has been polio-free since 2005.

“In order to keep that up, we need to continue vaccinating children and strengthen their immunity,” he said.

He said that while the health situation is expected to worsen as the crisis continues, this year alone, the estimated funding needed for health care reached Dh184 million – 35 per cent of which had been covered.

“These agreements will cover 12 per cent of the needs. Based on estimations by the WHO, the need will be more, because many hospitals stopped operating because of many reasons,” he said.

“Either there is no oil or electrical power, not enough water or a lack of medications and staff.”

Dr Mohammed Al Falahi, undersecretary of the Red Crescent, said the organisation had noted the field presence of UAE aid workers and their effectiveness at improving services.

Abdullah Al Amro, an Emirati who is a sheikh for the Bel Obaid tribes – who are spread throughout the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen – said he has seen the Yemeni health situation first-hand. Cholera has returned in the north because of pollution caused by war and rubbish in the streets, while cases of measles are on the rise, he said.

He regularly travels to Yemen on missions, saying that in Hadramaut governorate, there are some hospitals, but they are poor in quality and lack basic necessities.

“Even for surgery, they tell the patient to go get bandages from outside,” said Mr Al Amro. “And those who live in villages, to go there, it is all off-road, and no ambulances can reach them.”

hdajani@thenational.ae

Updated: October 12, 2016 04:00 AM

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