Yemen: MSF Resumes Medical Work in Haydan Hospital

Rawan Shaif

SANA'A, YEMEN—Six months after withdrawing its staff from northern Yemen following the bombing of its hospital in Abs, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has restarted work in Haydan District Hospital in Sa'ada Governorate.

MSF evacuated most of its staff from both Hajjah and Sa'ada governorates following the August 15, 2016, airstrike on Abs Hospital, which killed 19 people and injured 24, and a series of other attacks on medical facilities in northern Yemen.

On February 19, an MSF team returned to work in Haydan hospital, which up to 200,000 people in the area rely upon for medical care.

"The situation is worsening by the day in Yemen and the people's need for medical care keeps rising," said Ghassan Abou Chaar, MSF representative in Yemen. "The nearest other hospital is two hours' drive from Haydan, but with the fuel shortages, people struggle to reach it." 

Prior to its withdrawal from Haydan hospital, the MSF team provided support to the emergency room, inpatient department, maternity unit, and referral system, as well as general logistical support. MSF will resume its previous activities and increase its support to the inpatient department.

Over the past two years, many health facilities in Yemen have been hit by airstrikes, including Haydan Hospital itself, which was bombed on October 26, 2015, injuring one staff member. These repeated attacks have put enormous pressure on an already weak health system, while people have become increasingly afraid of visiting hospitals out of fear they will be targeted.

"The restarting of our work in Haydan hospital, as well as its location, have been communicated to all parties to the conflict, and we expect them to respect its integrity," said Abou Chaar. "The people of Yemen need to be granted safe access to hospitals and other health services."

MSF works in 12 hospitals and health centers in Yemen and provides support to 18 others in 10 governorates: Taiz, Aden, Al-Dhale', Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb, Hodeidah, Abyan, and Sana'a.