Yemen's ongoing conflict is having a direct impact on its people's health. At the end of May, the World Health Organization reported over 50,000 cases of cholera in the country.
The conflict has resulted in a broken healthcare system, poor levels of sanitation, and low levels of safe drinking water, exacerbating an outbreak of cholera among the population.
Furthermore, Yemen's people are having more and more difficulty in accessing health facilities on time. The outbreak is spreading to more remote and poor communities, who have further to travel and less money for transport.
The number of cases is predicted to be much higher to the previous outbreak. 23,506 suspected cases were recorded between October 2016 and 21 March 2017, compared with over 50,000 from 22 March to 29 May.
In addition, cholera cases are now being reported from 19 governorates out of 22, where previously it had reached 15.
Since March 30th, MSF has treated more than 12,181 patients in 8 Cholera Treatment Centers (CTC), 6 Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU) and 2 stabilisation units in 7 governorates (Amran, Hajja, Al-Dhale, Hodaidah, Ibb, Taiz and Sana’a. MSF also supports the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPHP) like in Aden governorate (Cholera response training for staffs, donations).
MSF first cases of cholera were identified in its supported Abs Rural hospital in Hajja governorate on March 30. Due to the quick growing number of cases MSF continues to expand the capacity of some of its CTC, opening new ones, supporting other locations through donations and evaluating the needs.
Apart from the treatment of patients, the next step is to focus on outreach activities. In Yemen, many households have individual wells which makes the detection of corrupted water sources a very long process. Even though, MSF will focus on hygiene promotion in hard-to-reach areas as well as chlorination of the wells.
Chlorination of all the water-trucking in Sana’a by UNICEF has been in this regard an important factor to the stabilisation of the outbreak in the capital. Humanitarian actors need to multiply similar efforts in the various affected governorates.