Several Yemeni hospitals ‘on verge of shut down’

Major hospitals in Sanaa and Taiz facing closure due to supply shortages as fighting continues to rage, NGOs say.

Malnourished children receive treatment in Sana?a hospital
More than 15.2 million people are lacking access to basic healthcare across Yemen, according to Save the Children [EPA]

Major hospitals in Yemen are struggling to function due to supply shortages caused by increased fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have said.

The medical situation in Taiz is not good. It is catastrophic.

by Salah Ibrahim Dongu'du, project coordinator at MSF

The main hospital in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, is on the verge of shutting down due to limited access to basic medicines and equipment caused by a blockade imposed by pro-Hadi fighters, while hospitals in Taiz are under siege by Houthi rebels, acccording to Save the Children said. 

The UK-based charity said Al-Sabeen Hospital – which caters to children and pregnant women in Sanaa – could shut its doors on Tuesday over critical fuel shortages and a lack of medical supplies.

The hospital, reliant on the Red Sea port of Hodeida for 90 percent of its supplies, serves an estimated three million people, the organisation said in a statement.

“The hospital has entirely run out of IV (intravenous) fluid, anaesthetic, blood transfusion tests, Valium to treat seizures and ready-prepared therapeutic food for severely malnourished children,” the statement said, citing the hospital’s deputy manager Halel al-Bahri.

‘Catastrophic’ situation

In Taiz, Yemen’s third city, two major hospitals have already closed due to a supply shortage caused by a blockade imposed by Houthi fighters, Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors without Borders (MSF) said.

“Yemen International Hospital and the military hospital, the biggest in Taiz, have shut their doors”, Salah Ibrahim Dongu’du, a project coordinator at MSF, told Al Jazeera over the phone.

He said the fighters were not allowing the delivery of drugs and medical supplies to pro-government strongholds.

“Safwa Hospital is closing today, and Rawda hospital can only accept emergency cases,” he said. “The medical situation in Taiz is not good. It is catastrophic.”

Dongu’du said that more than 1,400 people have been admitted to Rawda hospital in the month of August alone.

The Saudi-led coalition has mounted an air campaign against Houthi rebels since late March in support of Hadi.

Across Yemen, 15.2 million people are lacking access to basic healthcare, an increase of 40 percent since March, Save the Children warned.

More than half a million children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition this year, and there has been a 150 percent increase in hospital admissions for malnutrition since March, it said.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies