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New cholera outbreak in Yemen further strains medical services Open in fullscreen

Paola Tamma

New cholera outbreak in Yemen further strains medical services

Medics administer treatment in patients' cars as there are not enough beds [Photo Fatik Al-Rodaini]

Date of publication: 5 May, 2017

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A new outbreak in the Capital, Sana'a, has put even more strain on medical facilities.The situation is likely to get worse due to poor hygiene conditions in the capital.

One hospital in Sana’a received more than 80 suspected cases of cholera since Wednesday 3 May. Patients are receiving anti dehydration treatment in their own cars as there are not sufficient beds.

Cholera is a potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by consuming contaminated food and water. If untreated, it causes death by dehydration, and it is highly contagious.

Fatik Al-Rodaini, a humanitarian worker, was in al-Sabeen hospital in the capita Sana’a to deliver hygiene kits to patients. He said that on Thursday alone the hospital received 60 suspected cases of cholera, now risen to more than 80, including many children and women.

"It is a horrible time," he told The New Arab.

According to Rodaini, more cases are expected due to the build up of garbage in Sana’a.

Public employees stopped collecting rubbish four days ago in protest for receiving their salaries for nine months.

A child receiving treatment in al-Sabeen hospital, Sana'a
[Fatik Rodaini]

The UN cluster on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) recorded a total of 1115 new suspected cases across a number of governorates, leading to 19 deaths according to a recent report.

Cholera already broke out in October 2016. Last December, the UN recorded 122 confirmed cases in 12 governorates, 10 confirmed deaths, and 72 suspected deaths.

Mohammad Sajid, head of Oxfam in Yemen, told the New Arab: "The cholera outbreak was quite significant, more than 100 people lost their life and 10,000 people were affected. It was a combination of the malnutrition and lack of safe drinking water and hygiene practices."

"We have managed to keep it in check, but if we don’t ensure a long term solution of treatment of severe malnutrition cases, supply of food, and water on a regular basis, I think that especially with the escalation of the conflict these things will become challenging."

The conflict in Yemen has already killed 10,000 people and displaced a further 3.1m. About 18m Yemenis (more than 60 percent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance according to the UN.

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