Responding to wide-ranging needs in Taiz
MSF has been supporting three hospitals in Taiz city for almost two years, focusing on the main emergency priorities including medical care for people injured from the war and pediatric and maternal health care. Indeed, in war, surgery is an enormous part of our work, but the reality is there is also a real need for quality services for children and pregnant women.
In Taiz city, we had on average, 2,000 maternal health consultations per month—these were women who would otherwise not have had access to care. Staff were seeing malnourished children and children who had advanced respiratory infections. They also treated children for common illnesses [made more severe due to] the lack of provisions.
Unfortunately, there is no infrastructure supporting waste management in Taiz. The situation is equally dire in terms of access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Last year, this contributed to the rise of cholera and the fear is that there is potential for future outbreaks as the seasons change.
One of the lesser known, long-term consequences of the war in Yemen is antimicrobial resistance. In health facilities across Yemen, overprescribing antibiotics is a common practice by doctors, and thus patients expect and demand that antibiotics are readily available. Antimicrobial resistance in the community is high for certain antibiotics, and self-prescribing [drugs] is common. In Taiz, MSF is working with local health workers to minimize overprescription of antibiotics.
"Everyone has a story in Yemen"
Everyone has a story in Yemen. Everyone has something to say about how their life has changed because of the war. In most situations, in most communities, you would expect to see a broken people. Year after year of being forgotten [by many in the international community], not being able to access health care services, and not being able to afford food, you would feel broken. But that’s just not the case for the people of Taiz.
The people continue to do their best to make what they can out of the situation, even though war and the fear of death is a daily reality for them. In Taiz, people are still hopeful for a stronger future.