Ramping up disease prevention and response
Due to the ongoing conflict, health needs in Yemen continue to be high. With only 51 per cent of health facilities fully functional, access to healthcare services is severely limited and efforts to mitigate disease outbreaks and respond to healthcare needs are crucial to the overall health response in country. Health partners continue to scale up disease prevention efforts. Dengue fever is currently high on the agenda. To reduce the risk of dengue fever across 13 priority districts where a high number of cases were identified, at the end of 2019 health partners worked with local and national authorities to conduct a community mobilization campaign targeting 35,000 people. The campaign covered hygiene promotion, supporting local public health actors, strengthening dengue clinical case management and scaling up community engagement. WHO has also provided intravenous fluid, supportive drugs and laboratory supplies and, with UNICEF, International Medical Corps it has undertaken fogging and an indoor residual spraying campaign. In 2019 there were 76,768 suspected cases across the country and 271 deaths, 71 per cent of all cases were in Al Hodeidah, and in the first two weeks of January, there were 5,524 with 11 associated deaths.The number of suspected cases has reduced in some areas, but there are still hotspot districts, and the highest incidence per 10,000 of the population are in Al Hodeidah (10.7), Aden (2.36), Marib (2.12) and Lahj (1.63). Further response activities are planned, with a particular focus on the situation in Al Hodeidah.
A health education, health media and a school health campaign is due to take place in 21 districts of Al Hodeidah, Aden and Taizz. Indoor residual spraying is planned in Al Dhale›e, Shabwah, Al-Mahrah and Hadramout targeting 14,025 households (111,723 people) and case management training is planned in Taizz, Marib and Hadramout for 140 medical doctors.
Other recent preventative health work, includes a three-day nationwide polio campaign run by health partners in December, reaching over 4 million children under the age of 5. The campaign covered 317 out of 333 districts in all 22 governorates across the country. Yemen has been polio free since 2006. In the same month, a national schistosomiasis and deworming campaign was conducted as part of efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) which affect tens of thousands of people in Yemen. An integrated large-scale treatment campaign, supported by local health authorities and WHO, covered 101 districts in 11 northern governorates, targeting 3,340,664 people for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases. Over 12,000 health care workers in 5,000 teams distributed over 11 million tablets, protecting an estimated 83 per cent of the targeted population. The campaign was funded by the World Bank under the Emergency Health and Nutrition Project and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Health partners also ramped up support to health facilities in 2019, providing assistance to 137 hospitals across the country. With this support, more than 3 million consultations, 260,000 admissions, 80,000 surgical procedures, 43,000 deliveries and 30,000 caesarean sections were conducted between January and September 2019.
Efforts to preserve the capacity of public health sector institutions to deliver life-saving basic services in 2019 included the delivery of more than 1 million litres of fuel and 7 million litres of water every month. In addition, over $45 million worth of medicine, essential supplies and equipment were distributed to 524 health facilities during the year. WHO was the largest provider of incentives and allowances to health staff, providing a total of $28 million to 1,000 national health care workers.