- About Us
- Our Work
- Work With MSF
- Public Events
- Press Room
MSF in Yemen, 2011
All articles on Yemen »
In 2011, protests in Yemen’s main cities regularly ended in violent clashes. On the whole, national health facilities were able to care for the increased number of patients. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) supported medical staff, filling gaps in supplies and offering ad hoc support.
Violence in the south
Fighting between opposing Islamic militant groups and government forces in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, began to escalate in May. Healthcare facilities were severely damaged in the violence, and MSF staff were prevented from reaching some places.
At a health post in Jaar, MSF provided basic medical and emergency assistance and set up stabilization and ambulance referral systems. Some 2,000 people received emergency care and more than 200 were referred to a private hospital in Aden, 70 kilometers (44 mi) away.
In Ad-Dali hospital, northwest of Aden, MSF supported staff in the emergency department, carrying out some 4,400 consultations and referring 120 patients to facilities in Aden.
MSF continued the activities it had begun in July 2010 in Radfan district hospital, Lahj governorate. More than 9,500 patients were admitted for emergency care and surgeons performed over 1,160 operations. MSF also assisted in the pharmacy and laboratory.
Around 100,000 people were displaced by violence. Some found shelter with residents in the town of Al-Hosn, where MSF staff supported a clinic. Most people, however, headed towards the city of Aden.
In the second half of the year, MSF conducted outpatient consultations in three city clinics, donated drugs and trained medical staff. In the capital Sana’a, MSF donated drugs and medical supplies to public and private health facilities, and provided additional training for the management of incidents involving large numbers of injured patients. Staff also ran an ambulance service and, for two months, carried out surgery at a private health center.
Working conditions compromise activities in the north
Civil conflict in Saada persisted, despite a ceasefire agreement in 2010. Conditions became increasingly difficult for relief organizations, and MSF had to reduce its activities.
In September, the Executive Council in charge of humanitarian affairs in Saada announced new conditions for all humanitarian and non-governmental organizations working in the governorate. Among these were the termination of all independent assessments of medical needs and the obligation to replace all Ministry of Health staff working with MSF with staff proposed by the Executive Council. Having considered the consequences of these new conditions on the quality and effectiveness of its work, MSF suspended activities in Al Talh and Razeh hospitals, as well as in five health centers in the area.
Al Talh and Razeh are the only facilities outside Saada city providing specialist care. MSF staff in Al Talh held 48,000 outpatient consultations, performed 459 surgical interventions and admitted 1,900 inpatients during the first nine months of the year. In March and April, MSF also provided support to Al Jamouri hospital in Saada city, concentrating on strengthening pediatric and nutrition services.
Violence was still rife in the neighbouring governorate of Amran in 2011. MSF worked in Khameer and Huth hospitals and ran mobile clinics in the surrounding area. Staff carried out more than 40,000 consultations, treated some 1,250 children for severe malnutrition and assisted 500 births.
Due to growing insecurity, surgeons were able to work for only three months of the year. Nonetheless, they performed around 325 operations, and MSF teams cared for more than 800 inpatients.
Many Yemenis fleeing violence in Saada made their way south to Al Mazraq, Hajjah governorate. MSF provides general healthcare to people living in the camps around Al Mazraq, focusing particularly on treating children for malnutrition, assisting victims of sexual violence and supporting people in need of mental healthcare.
MSF also manages the only hospital in Al Mazraq, which was built by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Qatar Red Crescent Society. There is an emergency department and an operating theater, and staff offer basic and specialist healthcare for displaced people and the local community.
In 2011, staff carried out more than 30,000 consultations, treated over 4,200 patients for emergencies and provided sexual and reproductive healthcare to 3,900 people. Some 270 surgical procedures were performed, and 2,700 children were treated for severe malnutrition.
At the end of 2011, MSF had 574 staff in Yemen. MSF first worked in the country in 1994.