By Sophie Guenster, Yemen Response Programme Coordinator
The situation in Yemen is more shocking than ever. Nearly 21 million people, 70% of the total population, need humanitarian assistance. Children are particularly affected, with 80% needing humanitarian assistance. The UN estimates that one child dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes.
We have gone further. In Southern Yemen’s Lahj Governorate, our World Vision and Aktion Deutschland Hilft-funded project, implemented by our partner Medair, is currently providing critical lifesaving health and nutrition services to remote communities.
Community health volunteers are visiting communities to assess cases of acute malnutrition. They will make referrals and speak to the families about what they need and how the health clinic can help save lives.
Trust is building and patient numbers are growing. The health facilities have seen a massive rise in consultations from the surrounding population since the project’s inception in April 2021.
Monia supervises the community health volunteers in Al Madaribah. “I tell people not to be shy; we are here to help you and we must help each other,” she says.
“They see our behaviours and the way we treat people, and they learn to trust us and accept the messages we carry.”
People would often only bring one child for treatment, but then next time they bring more.
“Now the people themselves are helping us to build a strong healthy community,” tells Monia.
For those cases requiring specialised care, our project funds an ambulance to transport critical-care patients to hospitals in the Lahj governorate.
Ameen’s cousin experienced sudden bleeding during her pregnancy. He told us what a lifeline the ambulance was: “Were it not for their help, my cousin would have died. The provided health services are something that we must protect until the end of our lives.”
Abdullah, a general practitioner at Al Shat rural hospital, says the ambulance service has helped significantly reduce the death toll from accidents in the region.
Since the ambulance service began in June 2021, more than 255 people have been helped; at the health facilities, a total of 12,800 patients, including 7,000 children, have received life-saving treatment.
Over 2,000 children have been screened for signs of malnutrition, out of which 500 were admitted to the health facilities for treatment.
That the project has been renewed until the end of September 2022 under the name ‘Essential Health and Nutrition assistance to vulnerable and conflict affected populations in Yemen’ and is funded by ADH (through World Vision Germany) and private non-sponsorship (PNS) contributions from Canada, Korea and Taiwan.
World Vision’s Yemen Response Team continues to assess possibilities of extending the support, based on the existing Partnering Response Model and the available funds.