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Nearly 100 health workers died from Covid-19 in Yemen, report finds

The true number of infections is likely higher due to a lack of testing [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 July, 2020

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The virus death rate in Yemen is five times the global average and is disproportionately affecting medics, a report warned.
At least 97 health workers have died from Covid-19 in Yemen, a humanitarian organisation said in a recent report, warning of a devastating blow to the impoverished nation. 

The Chicago-based MedGlobal said health workers who are beleived to have died as a result of infection include infectous disease experts, medical directors, midwives and pharmacists.

Covid-19 is exacerbating the already overwhelming health crisis in Yemen, which lacks sufficient testing capacity, as well as the medical equipment and infrastructure to provide the neccessary care to patients with serious infection.

The novel coronavirus outbreak is also disproportionately harming one of Yemen's most critical human resources: health workers. While most deaths of medics appear to have occured in Sanaa.

Among medical professionals who have succumbed to the virus is one of Yemen's leading epidemiologists, Salem Saleh Muhammad al-Omari, as well as public health specialist Arif Ahmed Ali.

While only half the country's medical facilities functioned even before the pandemic, there were also less than 10 medics for every 10,000 people in the country.

In the absence of medical supplies, personal protective equipment and testing capablities, the mortality rate of the virus in Yemen stands at five times the global average, with 27 percent of infections resulting in death.

The 35-page report published on Wednesday warned of "deadlier and longerlasting consequences than in most other countries" in the absence of a comprehensive response to stem the spread of the virus.

Read also: Covid-19: Yemen's 'unprecedented calamity'

While the first case of coronavirus infection was recorded in Aden in April, the latest report released by the WHO recorded a total of 1,658 coronavirus infections resulting in 462 deaths.

The UN has called the situation in Yemen – with a population of 27 million – the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015 to restore President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's administration against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. 

The intervention has also included an ongoing blockade on Yemen which has killed over 100,000 people and left over 24 million of Yemen's population in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.

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