Yemen: One Year of Lifesaving Care in Ibb

Malak Shaher/MSF

One year has passed since Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began providing lifesaving health services at the General Rural Hospital of Thi As Sufal District in Yemen’s Ibb Governorate. Known locally as Al-Kaida Hospital, it is one of numerous health facilities in Yemen that has been financially crippled by the war that started in March 2015. Located in an area with a population of nearly 500,000—not including internally displaced people who fled the active frontline just 20 kilometers [about 12 miles] away in Taiz Governorate—the hospital receives patients from both Ibb and Taiz, providing an average of 250 emergency consultations per week.

"Since the beginning of the war, medical needs in the country have exploded," says Satoru Ida, MSF head of mission in Yemen. "In response, MSF has increased its assistance to those who have difficulty accessing emergency and basic medical care. Our project in Thi As Sufal District is part of this expansion. Our aim is to ensure free access to good quality emergency health care, improving the hospital’s mass casualty management and providing lifesaving surgery as well as hospitalization for the most severe medical conditions."

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MSF runs a 54-bed inpatient department at the hospital that includes an intensive care unit for children and adults, and provision of surgery for trauma cases, Caesarean sections, and other needs. In a little more than ten months, MSF treated 6,081 patients in the emergency room, performed 2,117 surgical interventions, and admitted 1,498 patients to the hospital. The number of cases in the emergency and operating rooms have increased by 1.5 and 5 times, respectively, since the project was opened.

"The hospital was [previously] providing very limited services, as it lacked specialized medical staff to operate the medical equipment in the hospital," says Dr. Sameer Al-Ariqi, the ministry of health general manager of the hospital. "MSF started working in the operating theater and emergency room, providing lifesaving health services as well as the necessary medications and medical supplies." MSF also ensures the presence of specialized staff such as general and orthopedic surgeons and anesthetist doctors at the hospital.

In addition to its work in the General Rural Hospital, MSF provides lifesaving emergency services in the emergency room at Al-Thawra Hospital in the main city of Ibb.

In Yemen, MSF works in Ibb, Taiz, Sa’ada, Hajja, Amran, Aden, Al-Dhale’, and Sana’a governorates.  All medical care provided by MSF is free of charge and accessible to all without discrimination. MSF treats patients irrespective of their religious, tribal, political, or other affiliations. Since March 2015, more than 50,000 war-wounded patients and victims of violence have been treated in MSF-run or supported hospitals across Yemen.