COVID-19 crushes Yemen’s health system

by Muizat Hameed

Medecins Sans Frontieres’s, MSF, head of mission in Yemen, Claire HaDoung, has disclosed that the country’s health system has been heavily affected.

HaDoung made the disclosure about the state of Yemenis health system in a recebt update published on its website.

In the statement, Claire said, “Five years of fighting had caused Yemen’s healthcare system to collapse in large parts, however, COVID-19 has made that collapse complete.”

Claire continued that the collapse happened because “Many hospitals are closing for fear of the coronavirus or for lack of staff and personal protective equipment.”

She added that “Many people will die of this virus, but we fear that many others will also die from what should have been preventable deaths, because healthcare is simply not available.”

Meanwhile, Claire explained that a mixture of fear and denial has been surrounding the news of the virus. People are in denial and wouldn’t want to accept that it is present or already circulating.

She further stated that “As soon as people have been faced with a case, it has caused panic. But then this is a country that lacks almost totally the means to respond to this outbreak, so it’s understandable that people are scared.”

Reiterating further that the MSF “cannot face this crisis alone,”, Claire stressed that the United Nations and other donor states “Need to urgently find ways to step up the response, including through hands-on interventions of medical humanitarian agencies and support to the Yemeni health system with money to pay healthcare staff, equipment to protect them, and oxygen concentrators to help sick patients breathe.”

“The local authorities need to facilitate the work of international organisations like MSF who are working with them to respond to the virus. They need to ensure the entry of medical supplies and international staff to reinforce teams on the ground.” she concluded.

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