NGO’s Médecins sans frontières has launched a mobilization of the UN and donor countries to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in Yemen.
Doctors Without Borders became alarmed Thursday, May 21, for the “disaster” that is underway in Yemen where the pandemic for the new coronavirus is spreading, the lack of human and material resources in a country ravaged by five years of war.
MSF has urgently urged the UN and donor countries to “do more and do it quickly, not only for Aden but for all of Yemen”.
“Health workers in the country must be paid for, provided with personal protective equipment and treatment centers must be provided with respiratory protection.”
The death at the MSF treatment center Covid-19 in Aden, the big city in the south where dengue, malaria and chikungunya already exist, “indicates a bigger disaster” than official figures indicate, the NGO warns in a press release.
“What we see in our treatment center is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the number of infected and dying in the city,” said Caroline Seguin, director of the MSF program. “People arrive at the center too late to be rescued, and we know that many others are not coming at all,” she adds.
The MSF center, the only structure dedicated to Covid-19
The MSF says 173 patients were admitted to its center and at least 68 died in the first two weeks of May.
“Arriving late to the center, many patients suffer from acute respiratory distress syndrome and their chances of survival are limited,” the organization said.
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She also finds a large number of caregivers, including her own staff, among the sick and eight times more funerals each day last week.
The MSF center is the only structure devoted to the coronavirus in southern Yemen. The other local hospitals refuse to accept patients showing symptoms of the disease due to the lack of protective equipment for their caregivers.
Lack of tests
Controlled by separatists who claim independence from the southern country, Aden did not observe containment. There are no tests for Covid-19 disease, like quarantine in sick people.
MSF figures are higher than those provided by the government, which lacks testing to accurately assess the extent of the pandemic.
“But if the exact number of cases cannot be known, there is no doubt that it is the Covid-19 epidemic that is causing such an increase in mortality,” the NGO said.
Yemen has been plagued by a deadly war since 2014 between the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels controlling several regions of the country, including the capital Sanaa, and the government backed by the Saudi-led coalition from 2015.
This conflict has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis according to the UN and has caused the collapse of the local health infrastructure.