Covid-19 crushes Yemen’s health sector, UN solicits fund

by Akeem Alao

The coronavirus pandemic has severely crushed Yemeni health sector.

According to the United Nations, coronavirus is believed to be spreading throughout Yemen, where the healthcare system “has in effect collapsed”.

This was disclosed on Friday May 22, 2020, by Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

“Aid agencies in Yemen are operating on the basis that community transmission is taking place across the country,” he said.

“We hear from many of them that Yemen is really on the brink right now. The situation is extremely alarming; they are talking about [it] that the health system has in effect collapsed,” he added.

It was reported that aid workers have been turning people away due to lack of medical oxygen or sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment.

A flight carrying international aid workers landed in Aden on Thursday as airspace opened up for rotations, but Yemeni nationals have been doing most of the on-site work, he said.

“The main coronavirus treatment centre in southern Yemen has recorded at least 68 deaths in just over two weeks,” Doctors Without Borders, the medical charity running the site, said on Thursday.

Yemeni authorities have reported 184 coronavirus infections, including 30 deaths, to the World Health Organization.

“The actual incidence is almost certainly much higher,” Laerke said.

“The UN estimates it will seek $2bn for Yemen to maintain aid programmes through year’s end.

“Just $677m has been donated so far this year, compared with over $4bn during 2019,” he stated.

He explained that the world governing body and Saudi Arabia will host a donor conference on June 2 in a bid to boost support for Yemen.

“We are urging the donors to pledge generously, and those who have given an indication of pledges to actually pay early because the operation in Yemen is severely, severely underfunded,” Laerke concluded.

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