Yemen: mobile clinics make medical care possible amid the crisis

Only half of the health care facilities in Yemen are open at the moment.

Only half of the health care facilities in Yemen are open at the moment., © ADRA

17.11.2021 - Article

Yemen is the scene of one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world. Only half of the country’s healthcare facilities have remained open. The non-governmental organisation ADRA is providing basic medical care to the people in Yemen with German support.

ADRA supports eight healthcare facilities in the north and south of the country
ADRA supports eight healthcare facilities in the north and south of the country© ADRA

Two-thirds of the population require humanitarian assistance

Of Yemen’s 30 million inhabitants, 21 million require humanitarian assistance. Half of the people of Yemen are affected by an acute hunger crisis according to United Nations figures from mid-2021. The consequences of malnutrition are dramatic, particularly for children. People’s immune systems are weakened and infectious diseases can spread more rapidly. UNICEF reports that every ten minutes one child in Yemen dies of a preventable disease. Every year there are new outbreaks of cholera. Since 2016 more than half a million people in Yemen have contracted the disease.

Even basic supplies are lacking

The needs of the Yemeni population include food, healthcare, safe access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities, as well as protective measures. Even before the war, Yemen was dependent on imports of basic foodstuffs, fuel and medication. The armed conflict has severely hampered the import of essential goods. Furthermore, import and access restrictions also mean that both commercial and humanitarian goods are slow to get into the country, not least because the parties to the conflict hinder or block the provision of humanitarian assistance in many cases.

According to the UN, Yemen needs humanitarian assistance amounting to 3.85 billion US dollar in 2021. Last year only just over half of the required funds were available.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation. It led to a fall in transfers from the Yemeni diaspora abroad, while many states reduced their support payments for Yemen in view of their own difficult economic circumstances. Germany was not among them.

Safeguarding healthcare with ADRA

The needs of the Yemeni population includes healthcare
The needs of the Yemeni population includes healthcare© ADRA

In 2021, the Federal Government has earmarked a total of 200 million euro for the United Nations assistance plan. This is used to support organisations such as ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency). The non-governmental organisation has been active on the ground for more than 25 years and can therefore draw on a broad network of contacts. That is a great advantage, particularly when humanitarian access is at stake.

ADRA supports eight healthcare facilities in the north and south of the country, where people can receive vital medical care, for example if they are suffering from cholera or malnutrition.

ADRA always adapts its support to the specific local situation. If, for example, there is already a hospital in the area, but it has been damaged or is lacking equipment, ADRA will help restore its functionality. Where there is no infrastructure, ADRA works with mobile teams. Once basic care is in place, ADRA hands over the institutions to development cooperation actors – and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development takes over responsibility for funding. This ensures a smooth transition from short-term humanitarian assistance to longer-term support in the form of development assistance.

The Federal Foreign Office supports ADRA’s work with six million euro per year.


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