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05-05-2015 | Middle East

Yemen: Hospitals and health care on the brink of collapse

As airstrikes continue to rain down on Yemen and the fighting enters a second month, Yemen’s health system is struggling to cope. 

Checkpoints manned by the different armed factions have obstructed the delivery of urgent medical supplies to the wounded and sick in hospitals. 

Import restrictions on food, fuel and medication have further worsened the situation.  

Hospitals throughout the country are no longer able to provide ambulance services as they are out of diesel. Even the medical staff can struggle to get to work with the petrol shortages. 

Dr Jughman at Al Joumhouri Hospital fears for her patients: “We have very frequent electricity cuts, and our machines need power to function. If the electricity is cut for a long period, everything will cease to function.”

In Al Joumhouri Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, Ahmad Mohsen says: “The hospital sections that need electricity most are the operations room and the ICU where things can be dramatic with the ventilators. A patient can be completely dependent on the ventilators, unable to breath on his own.”

With electricity from the grid available for just an hour a day, the generators have to run full steam in order to provide enough energy for essentials such as the ventilators, dialysis machines, blood bank fridges and even the lights.  Without it, patients will die.  

Al Jomhouri’s hospital director Dr. Nasr Al Qadesi fears the hospital is only weeks away from having to shut down: “We are struggling with electricity cuts and fuel shortages and also because our generator was hit by shrapnel.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has donated medical supplies and a generator to Al Jomhouri hospital to replace the one destroyed by an air strike but this generator will need a constant fuel supply.

Under international humanitarian law, the wounded and sick have the right to medical treatment.

Violence against health-care personnel, medical facilities and transport breaches international humanitarian law.

Click here for the latest facts and figures of ICRC activities in Yemen



Location: Sana’a, Yemen
Length: 3:50
Format: H264 mov HD
Production: Medialand
Camera: Ahmed Yahya, Hani Ali, Thomas Glass
Sound: Arabic
ICRC ref: AV304N
Date: 30 April 2015

Copyright: ICRC access all

0:00 Various of Sana’a at night with anti-aircraft shells, and airstrikes
0:16 Various Al Joumhouri hospital during blackout at night
0:31 Various of babies in the prenatal ward

0:51 SOUNDBITE Dr. Sawssan Hussein Jughman, Lab Technician, Al Joumhouri hospital (in Arabic)
“We have very frequent electricity cuts, and our machines need power to function permanently. If the electricity is cut for a long period, everything ceases to function.”

1:01 ventilator and patient
1:09 Various from ICU
1:24 Resuscitating patient

1:30 SOUNDBITE Ahmad Mohsen, ICU, Al Joumhouri hospital (Arabic)
“The hospital sections that need electricity most are the ICU and the operations room, but the most dependent would be the ICU, where things can be dramatic with the ventilators. The patient might be dependent completely on the ventilators, because he cannot breath on his own.”

1:51 Various of patients and machines
2:22 Lights in hospital
2:30 Various of blood bank

2:49 SOUNDBITE Dr. Nasr Al Qadesi, Al Jomhouri Hospital director (in Arabic)
“We have a problem these days with electricity cuts and fuel shortages, and we were also struggling because one of our generators was hit by a shrapnel. When we brought this issue to the ICRC, they bought us this generator that you see, with a 200 KVA capacity that we will now use in addition to our own to keep the hospital running.”

3:20 Various of generator arriving
3:50 ENDS

Duration : 3m 50s
Size : 291.3 MB
On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

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