#FirstMalariaVaccine; #Mosquirix; #Africa; #WHO, #PilotProject
Malawi (Africa), Nov 30 (Canadian-Media): The introduction of a first malaria vaccine, known as Mosquirix in Malawi, Africa was considered a landmark event in the battle against a disease that each year takes more than 400,000 lives, most of them children in Africa, Sciencemag.org reports said.
But keeping in mind the vaccine's cost-effectiveness and safety compared to its mediocre efficacy, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to set up a pilot project in Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya in which the vaccine will be given to hundreds of thousands of children in a closely monitored vaccination campaign.
Mosquirix is being introduced only in selected areas in Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana. A decision about a broader rollout is expected in 2021. Image credit: THOKO CHIKONDI
It was believed that such a campaign would facilitate collection of more data to ensure the safety and efficacy of Mosquirix before wider introduction.
By September, almost 35,000 children in Malawi had received at least one shot. Getting the vaccine to these children has been straightforward, but collecting follow-up information is a challenge. "In trials, you have a controlled environment. You know where the participants are, keep track of them, if there is an issue you take care of them," says Bernhards Ogutu, a pediatrician and malaria researcher at the University of Nairobi who is involved in Kenya's vaccine pilot program. "But in the pilot, once you've given the child the vaccine, they go home."
To overcome the problem of monitoring the vaccinated children in Malawi, which lacked digital systems to record health and mortality statistics, researchers in Malawi set up a surveillance system in four "sentinel hospitals" that treat both vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
Mosquirix, developed in the 1980s by a team in Belgium at SmithKline-RIT, now part of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and its rollout now underway will help determine whether it should be introduced widely in Africa in the next decade.
But results of the pilot project varied and not promising enough, said molecular biologist Joe Cohen, who led the effort until he retired from GSK in 2012 that even a short-lived, partly effective vaccine "could already make a huge difference."
In April, WHO's vaccine advisory committee considered if the vaccine could be introduced in the rest of Africa—after just 2 years, instead of the five originally planned. "The evaluation will continue, but we don't want to keep the rest of Africa waiting any longer," says David Schellenberg, who joined the team at WHO in 2016. Another reason, Schellenberg says, to hasten the decision is that GSK needs to know whether it should continue production.
A declining number of meningitis cases and deaths in the three countries, requires more research to continue the pilot longer than expected to detect statistically significant differences.
#DemocraticRepublicOfCongo; #UN; #UNHealth; #Measles; #WHO
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nov 28 Since the beginning of 2019, measles has taken more than 5,000 lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a top UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official said on Wednesday, pointing out that over 90 per cent of the deaths were children under-five.
A nurse prepares to vaccinate an infant during a regularly-scheduled immunization clinic in North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Image credit: © UNICEF/Thomas Nybo
“While the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives in the Eastern DRC, has commanded sustained international attention, measles, which has claimed more than twice as many lives, continues to be underreported”, said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in the country.
Violence and insecurity, lack of access to healthcare and vaccine and medical kit shortages in the worst-affected areas, have rendered thousands of children unprotected and hindered efforts to stop the deadly disease from spreading.
“Cultural beliefs and traditional healthcare practices also often get in the way of vaccinating children against measles and treating those with symptoms”, he explained.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that measles, which has gripped all provinces in the country, is the world's largest and fastest-moving epidemic.
While a safe, effective and affordable vaccine can prevent the disease, Mr. Beigbeder stressed that “the key is to reach every single child, no matter where they are”.
WHO maintains that responding to measles requires a range of approaches to ensure that all children get their vaccines on time. This requires effective communication and engagement on their critical importance as well as the dangers of the disease.
UNICEF and its partners are not only conducting measles vaccination campaigns in the worst-affected areas, but also supplying clinics with medicine to treat the disease.
So far, they have distributed 1,317 medical measles kits – containing antibiotics, rehydration salts, Vitamin A and other medicines – to affected health zones to treat children with complications.
“Yet these measures can only ever be a short-term solution, as significant investment in strengthening DRC’s national vaccination programme and wider health care systems is crucial to guarantee the health and wellbeing of the country’s children”, the UNICEF representative underscored.
WHO flagged that measles is a virus which typically begins with a high fever. It’s the complications associated with the highly contagious disease, including pneumonia and encephalitis, which are responsible for most measles-related deaths.
According to the UN health agency, severe cases are more likely to occur among young children who are malnourished or have insufficient food, especially those with a vitamin A deficiency, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.
#Zimbabwe; #ManMadeStarvation; #UN; #UNSpecialPeocedures
Zimbabwe, Nov 28 (Canadian-Media): Man-made starvation is “slowly making its way into Zimbabwe” and most households in the country are unable to obtain enough food to meet their basic needs, Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, declared on Thursday.
Drought conditions in Zimbabwe have meant that farmers have not been able to grow enough food. Image credit: WFP/Tatenda Macheka
The independent UN human rights expert was presenting her assessment on the current situation in Zimbabwe, concerning all aspects related to the right to food, following a 11-day visit to the country.
Because of hyperinflation, which, said Ms. Elver, has reached some 490 per cent, more than 60 per cent of the population is now “food-insecure”, in a country once seen as the breadbasket of Africa: “In rural areas, a staggering 5.5 million people are currently facing food insecurity, as poor rains and erratic weather patterns are impacting harvests and livelihoods”, she said. “In urban areas, an estimated 2.2 million people are food-insecure and lack access to minimum public services, including health and safe water”.
Ms. Elver described the figures as “shocking”, and warned that, due to factors such as poverty and high unemployment, widespread corruption, severe price instabilities, and unilateral economic sanctions, the crisis is getting worse.
Women and children ‘bearing the brunt’
Women and children are bearing the brunt of the crisis, said the Special Rapporteur, adding that the majority of children she had met were stunted and underweight.
According to Ms. Elver, child deaths from severe malnutrition have been rising in recent months, and 90 % of Zimbabwean children aged six months to two years are not consuming the minimum acceptable diet: “I saw the ravaging effects of malnutrition on infants deprived of breast feeding because of their own mothers’ lack of access to adequate food”.
The situation for women, as described by the human rights expert, is equally stark, with women (and children) increasingly forced to drop out of school, being forced into early marriage, domestic violence, prostitution, and sexual exploitation.
I saw the ravaging effects of malnutrition on infants deprived of breast feeding because of their own mothers’ lack of access to adequate food Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food.
Urgent reform is needed
Immediate reforms of the agricultural and food system were recommended by Ms. Elver, such as reducing the country’s dependence on imported food, and supporting alternative wheats to diversify the diet. The Government, she continued, should create the conditions for the production of traditional seeds to ensure the country’s self-sufficiency and preparedness for the climate shocks that hit the country.
The effects of the economic crisis are noticeable, said the Special Rapporteur, in both rural areas, and cities, including Harare. She recounted seeing people waiting for hours, in long lines, in front of gas stations, banks, and water dispensaries, and receiving information that public hospitals have been reaching out to humanitarian organizations after their own medicine and food stocks were exhausted.
Ms. Elver called on the Zimbabwean Government, political parties, and the international community to come together to “put an end to this spiralling crisis before it morphs into a full-blown conflict”.
#Albania; #SouthWestEurope, #Earthquake; #AlbaniaEarthquake
New York Nov 28 (Canadian-Media): At least 25 people have been killed and over 650 injured, according to official reports following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Albania which happened shortly before 04:00 local time on 26 November 2019.
Hundreds of citizens are receiving medical assistance at hospitals in Tirana, Durres, Lezha, Kurbin and Kruja. All health facilities are reportedly in good shape. A state of emergency has been declared for Durres and Tirana.
“On behalf of WHO, I would like to extend my condolences to Albania, especially to those who may have lost loved ones, been injured or lost property,” says Dr Piroska Östlin, WHO Regional Director for Europe a.i. “We have been on the ground from the first moment of this disaster, working with health authorities to save lives.”
Staff from WHO have been deployed, and the WHO country team in Albania travelled to Durres to assess health needs with local and national health authorities.
“The Medical Emergencies Coordination Centre is doing tremendous work in responding to the consequences of the earthquake,” commented Dr Raul Gonzalez-Montero, WHO Representative in Albania. “I personally went to visit affected areas and health facilities where health personnel are working around the clock to treat trauma and other injuries, and they are coping well.”
In the aftermath of an earthquake, the priority is to save lives from trauma and injuries from building collapse. Following this phase, it is critical to monitor the potential risk of communicable diseases, particularly in areas affected by overcrowding. There is also a need to address post-traumatic mental disorders and continue the provision of care for chronic conditions. Eventually, recovery and rehabilitation will be in focus.
WHO is committed to assisting the country in identifying immediate needs and ensuring a swift response. The Organization stands ready to provide support to the people and Government of Albania during and after this emergency.
#Nairobi, #Africa; #HIV; #UNAIDS; #UpdateOnNewHIVInfections
Nairobi (Africa), Nov 26 (Canadian-Media): When people living with HIV actively participate in their own care, new infections decline and more affected people access treatment, according to a new report launched on Tuesday by UNAIDS, the United Nations agency leading the fight against the disease.
In the center of Chad, 19-year-old Achta holds up condoms during an HIV awareness-raising session in her Moussoro community. (March 2019)
Image credit: © UNICEF/Frank Dejong
When people living with HIV actively participate in their own care, new infections decline and more affected people access treatment, according to a new report launched on Tuesday by UNAIDS, the United Nations agency leading the fight against the disease.
“When people and communities have power and agency, change happens,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima. “The solidarity of women, young people, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs and transgender people, has transformed the AIDS epidemic – empowering them will end the epidemic.”
Where we stand
Significant progress has been made, particularly in expanding access to treatment. As of mid-2019, an estimated 24.5 million of the 37.9 million people living with HIV were able to access it. Moreover, as treatment roll-out continues, fewer people are dying of AIDS-related illnesses.
However, since 2010, new HIV infections have only slightly declined, while the rise of new cases in some regions is causing mounting concern.
Some 320 children and adolescents died every day from AIDS-related causes in 2018, or 13 every hour, according to a global snapshot on children, HIV and AIDS released by UN Children’s Fund UNICEF on Tuesday.
Low access to antiretroviral treatment, in addition to limited prevention efforts, is a leading cause for these deaths, with only 54 per cent of children up to the age of 14, living with HIV in 2018 – or 790,000 children – receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy.
“The world is on the cusp of making great gains in the battle against HIV and AIDS, but we must not rest on the laurels of progress made,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Neglecting testing and treatment initiatives for children and adolescents is a matter of life and death, and for them, we must choose life.”
In eastern and southern Africa, the region most affected by HIV, the rate of incidences among girls and women between 15 and 24, showed a marked decline between 2010 to 2018.
Nevertheless, the report flags that girls account for four-out-of-five new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa where around half of women and girls aged 15–19, have unmet contraception needs.
Gender inequalities, patriarchal norms, violence, discrimination and limited access to sexual health services exacerbate the HIV risk among adolescent girls and young women, particularly in this region.
“In many parts of the world, significant progress has been made in reducing new HIV infections, reducing AIDS-related deaths and reducing discrimination…but gender inequality and denial of human rights are leaving many people behind”, stressed the UNAIDS chief.
UNAIDS report update on new HIV infections
Moreover, by doing unpaid and often undervalued work – looking after the sick, elderly and disabled – they underpin fragile social support systems that hinder their community involvement in the HIV response.
“This must change”, UNAIDS stated.
Other vulnerable groups Men who have sex with men, transgender people and sex workers account for at least 75 per cent of new HIV infections, and they are less likely to be on treatment. Furthermore, more than a third do not know their HIV status.
“Social injustices, inequality, denial of citizenship rights and stigma and discrimination are holding back progress against HIV and the Sustainable Development Goals”, Ms. Byanyima said.
UNAIDS urged all countries to bolster community-led organizations, indicating that sitting at decision-making tables not only supports the well-being of their communities but also removes barriers.
To better respond to their needs, UNICEF encouraged governments and partners to improve HIV testing and treatment data for youth.
It pressed for investing in` and implementing innovative interventions “to urgently close the persistent testing and treatment gap for children and adolescents living with HIV”.
“The cost of failing to test and treat every child at risk of HIV is one we measure in children’s lives and futures – a cost that no society can afford”, concluded Ms. Fore. “HIV initiatives need to be fully funded and equipped to preserve, protect and improve the quality of life for children, in the first and second decades”.
#UN; #Solmali; #SomaliMeasles; #SomaliChildren
Two children play in the surf on Mogadishu's Lido beach (file).
Image credit: UN Photo/Tobin Jones
A campaign to vaccinate some 1.7 million children in Somalia was launched on Sunday by the country’s government, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Children under the age of five are being targeted with polio vaccines, and measles vaccines will be administered to children aged between 6 and 59 months. The campaign also includes a vitamin A supplement for children under 5 to boost their immunity as well as de-worming tablets.
Over five days, until November 29, health workers will focus their efforts in the regions of Benaadir, Galguduud, Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West State, and on children in districts with high concentrations of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
IDP camps often breed disease, and children living in such sites are also more likely to be living in crowded living conditions, and suffering from malnutrition, and limited access to water and sanitation. Children in nomadic communities are at a higher risk of contracting measles and polio due to the higher mobility of these population groups.
So far this year 3,616 suspected measles cases have been reported in Somalia: The virus, which is spread by respiratory transmission, is highly contagious: up to 90% of people without immunity, who are sharing a house with an infected person, will catch it.
One among 7 Somali children dies before their fifth birthday and many of these deaths are preventable by use of vaccines Dr. Mamunur Malik, WHO Representative, Somalia
“One among 7 Somali children dies before their fifth birthday and many of these deaths are preventable by use of vaccines”, Dr. Mamunur Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia, said on Sunday. “Although we have made progress over the years to improve routine immunization coverage in the country, there is an urgent need to further scale up the vaccination coverage, especially for measles and polio, by working together with partners, communities and grass-root level organizations”.
The aim of the mass vaccination programme is to stem the transmission of measles infection, and reduce the likelihood of future outbreaks in Somalia. The addition of the polio vaccine to the campaign will also help to bolster protection against polio virus type 1 and 3 among all Somali children.
#AdolescentsInWorldLackExercice; #WHO; #UNHealth; #ExerciseForHealthBenefits
Geneva, Nov 22 (Canadian-Media): An alarming lack of exercise among adolescents across the world risks seriously compromising their health into adulthood, the UN said on Thursday.
The UN health agency, WHO, is encouraging adolescents to exercise more.
Image credit: Unsplash/Paul Proshin
In the first study of its kind on global and regional trends among 11 to 17-year-olds, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that around 80 per cent of them do less than 60 minutes of activity per day – the minimum daily recommendation.
Philippines boys and South Korean girls ‘least active’According to the study, the Philippines had the highest inactivity levels among boys, at 93 per cent, while in South Korea, researchers found that 97 per cent of girls failed to do enough exercise.
In gender terms on average, 85 per of girls failed to do enough globally, only slightly worse than boys (78 per cent).
“From 2001 to 2016 we found that there’s been no improvement in patterns of activity in this age group…one hour out of their lives each day to be physically active and to get a health benefit from being physically active,” said the WHO study co-author Dr. Leanne Riley. “That can be made up of different small chunks of their time, anything that adds up to 60 minutes.”
No need to push it to get health benefits
Insisting that physical activity needn’t be overly strenuous or vigorous for it to be beneficial, Dr. Riley explained that jogging, walking, cycling or “just trying to be active” can all make a positive difference.
In the long-term, failing to do enough exercise leaves people vulnerable to a range of non-communicable and preventable illnesses, WHO has repeatedly warned.
These non-communicable diseases include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.
Healthier body – and mind - from exercise
An additional benefit of physical activity is improved mental health, Dr. Riley insisted, highlighting that exercise also promotes learning, delays the onset of dementia and can help maintain a healthy weight.
“If they do it…they’re likely to be healthier adults too,” said the WHO study lead co-author Dr. Regina Guthold, insisting on the importance of establishing healthy habits early on.
According to the study of 1.6 million school-going students from 146 countries, girls were less active than boys in all but four of them: Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia.
The difference between the amount of exercise between boys and girls was greater than 10 per cent in almost a third of countries in 2016, and this trend became more pronounced in almost three-quarters of nations surveyed between 2001 and 2016.
Bangladesh, Singapore, Thailand - most improvements
The countries showing the most improvement in activity levels among boys were Bangladesh (from 73 per cent to 63 per cent), Singapore and Thailand (78 to 70), Benin (79 to 71) and the U.S. and Ireland (71 to 64).
In the case of the US, the study authors noted the likely positive impact of national sports promotion initiatives, although these appeared to have had more success with boys than girls, they said.
Among girls in general the changes in activity levels were small over the review period, the WHO study found, ranging from a two per cent increase in Singapore – from 85 per cent to 83 per cent – to a one per cent increase in Afghanistan (87 per cent to 88 per cent).
Under the 2030 Global Goals Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the international community, Governments agreed to a 15 per cent improvement in activity levels by 2030.
“We are off-track; this target will not be met if these trends continue,” Dr. Guthold insisted.
#DemocraticRepublicoftheCongo; #EbolaDeaths; #UN; #WHO; #Geneva
Geneva, Nov 22 (Canadian-Media): Amid multiple deadly attacks on civilians by armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), an Ebola death “unlinked to any chain of transmission” risks reversing major gains against the epidemic, which is now down to just a handful of cases, a top UN medic said on Friday.
A patient at a health centre in Butembo in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has her temperature measured as part of efforts to prevent the spread of Ebola. (August 2019). Image credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret
Speaking in Geneva, Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director for the WHO Health Emergencies programme, told journalists that while “98 per cent” of infection in the last three weeks could be traced back to two different routes, or chains of transmission, a third one had been identified in Oicha health zone, North Kivu.
“This individual who turned out to be a community death had visited three separate health care centres in the Oicha area before being detected”, the WHO official said. “(He) was a moto driver himself and when his colleagues in the moto driver group learned of this death, they came to sympathise and the body was manipulated by a large number of colleagues and friends”.
Active transmission in an area where there has been active military engagement. No one predicted that - Dr Mike Ryan, WHO
According to WHO, the death can be linked to health zones in Kalunguta, Mandima, Mabalako and Beni, in addition to Oicha.
“Right now, we know of over 200 contacts being associated with that case and of them we consider 62 to be of extreme high risk in terms of their exposure”, Dr Ryan said.
“Of those high-risk contacts, we’ve only managed to see 19. We don’t have access to the community, so it means that less than one-third of those very high-risk contacts we’ve managed to access in the last two days.”
Ebola survivors and other parishioners gather at a church in Beni, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. (August 2019).
Image credit: N Photo/Martine Perret
Attacks and civilian anger frustrate efforts
Security incidents linked to ongoing military operations against non-state armed groups and retaliatory attacks allegedly by the Allied Democratic Forces on civilians – who themselves have demonstrated against the violence, reportedly shutting down access to communities - have hampered efforts by the WHO and partners to reach communities at risk from Ebola, including Beni, Oicha, and Kyondo health zones, Dr Ryan explained.
In an appeal for “sustained access” to Oicha in coming weeks to follow up and manage the situation, Dr Ryan insisted that health workers needed the same guarantees for Beni and Kalunguta.
“We now have a new scenario in which we have active transmission in an area where there has been active military engagement. No one predicted that,” he said. “So the issue now is, everybody needs to take account of that, everybody needs to put that into their algebra now and say, ‘Okay, what can we do to create a situation in which the response can continue?’ And that requires action by all parties, by the Government, by MONUSCO, by the UN, by everybody.”
2,197 Ebola deaths since August 2018
According to the WHO, there have been 3,298 infections in total and 2,197 deaths since the latest outbreak was declared last August - an overall case fatality ratio of 67 per cent.
In the past week, only seven new confirmed cases of Ebola virus infection were reported in DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces.
That is in line with confirmed infection levels in the past three weeks, which saw only 28 cases reported in four health zones in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, with the majority reported in three health zones: Mabalako (14), Beni (eight) and Mandima (five).
The reason for the high level of concern over the Oicha health zone fatality – which came after more than 30 days with no new cases – is that so many people came into contact with the deceased.
Comparing the estimated $1 billion price tag of confronting this Ebola outbreak with the $18 million investment in preventing transmission of the virus to neighbouring Uganda, Dr Ryan insisted that now was not the time to slow operations.
Ebola ‘likely to be with us for months’ “I don’t think we’re going to see an explosion” in infections, he insisted, before noting that the authorities were likely to be dealing with Ebola “for months to come”.
He added: “We have made significant progress in the containment of Ebola in the last two to three months, and the risks to other provinces and the risks to other countries have dropped dramatically…What we’re flagging here is, we have such an opportunity to finish that we need to exploit this opportunity now and security has become a major obstacle to doing that. And if we don’t, the chances are that if the security doesn’t improve or in fact deteriorates in the region, we could work our way back to a very bad situation.”
#Dementia; #PhysicalHealth; #MentalHealth; #Alzheimer
New York, Nov 19 (Canadian-Media): The results of a new research conducted showed that almost half of adults surveyed globally failed to understand the connection between physical health and brain health in developing a memory robbing disease, dementia, media reports said.
One in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. In the absence of proven medicines or medical treatments to prevent it, European studies have shown that healthy lifestyles may help prevent mental decline. The Alzheimer’s Association is sponsoring similar U.S. research.
Mental stimulation like regular exercise, a good diet, limiting alcohol and not smoking and supplements, playing chess, taking a class, listening to music and reading about unfamiliar topics can prevent dementia.
“We really haven’t done a good job of getting the word out that there really are things you can do to lower your risk,” said Dr. Donovan Maust, the study’s lead author and a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan.
The study was published online Friday in JAMA Neurology. It’s based on a nationally representative health survey of 1,000 adults aged 50 to 64.
Other things that doctors can do to prevent dementia is to help people manage conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes that have been linked with dementia risk, Maust said.
#UN; #migrants; #Yemen; #UNMigrationAgency;
United Nations, Nov 16 (Canadian-Media): Since the beginning of the year, the UN Migration Agency has carried out over one million health consultations for displaced and conflict-affected Yemenis and migrants struggling to reach the help they need, the organization announced on Friday.
A young child is attended to by an IOM worker in Yemem. IOM are providing lifesaving health care to conflict affected communities, displaced people and migrants in Yemen, while strengthening public health facilities. Image credit: IOM/Olivia Headon
Yemen’s public sector has been pushed to “a breaking point”, as the country enters its fifth year of conflict, prompting the closure of half of the country’s health facilities. As of 11 September, 1,095,072 health consultations were provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as part of its emergency lifesaving services and support to the health sector to ensure it continues to operate in the war-battered country.
Over 19,000 people received psychosocial counselling, 113,000 others received reproductive health consultations, and more than 71,000 were part of health awareness-raising activities.
Public health facilities were already strained before the onset of Yemen’s crisis in 2015. Now, people must travel long distances for essential services, while some are forced to go without.
Further, dried up financial resources and a lack of health professionals has catalyzed the problem, while the number of people seeking medical assistance continues to rise in certain areas, overwhelming health centres.
The country’s humanitarian situation remains the worst in the world, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Around 80 per cent of the population is in need of some kind of assistance, roughly 24 million people, and some 14.4 million find themselves in acute need, nearly two million more than just one year ago.
In it’s latest monthly update on the situation, the agency cited examples of health centres rendered inoperable due a swell in fighting, with expecting mothers turned away from hospitals not equipped to handle births.
One woman living in Birali, Lahj governorate, where IOM helped re-establish the local health centre recalled that before the centre was running again, “we had to travel to Hadramout or Aden”, approximately 120 and 450 kilometeres away, respectively. “A women in labour couldn’t do that”, she added.
IOM is supporting restoration and operational needs of 86 facilities across the country to help ensure Yemenis have access to effective, safe, and free health care, through over 120,000 consultations every month.
To reach migrants and displaced persons unable to access traditional health facilities, the organisation also operates nine mobile health teams, four of which provide newly-arrived migrants with emergency health services along Yemen’s coast.
Warehouses around the country store stockpiles of critical medicines, antibiotics or disease management medications to ensure a constant supply.
IOM’s Health Programme Coordinator in Yemen, Dr. Nedal Odeh said that with health needs rising, and many people living in places “with virtually no health services,” the organisation’s aid to conflict-affected communities “is vital to the continuation of accessible health services and strengthening of the overall health system in Yemen.”