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UNICEF: Yemen’s basic services on the verge of total collapse

July 1, 2019 at 2:17 am

Despite cholera outbreak, Yemeni kids collect garbages form piles of rubbish for recycling in Sana’a, Yemen on April 1, 2019. [Mohammed Hamoud – Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Sunday that essential services in Yemen are on the verge of total collapse as the war enters its fifth year. It added that only 51 per cent of the country’s health facilities are still working in full, although they suffer from a severe shortage of medicines, equipment and staff.

“As the conflict in Yemen enters its fifth year, the salaries of more than 1.25 million government employees, including doctors, social workers and other public sector workers, have been suspended for more than two and a half years” the organization said in a report, explaining that the suspension has led to the closure or reduction of working hours of vital facilities such as health facilities, schools, water and sanitation facilities and other essential social services.

Read: UAE scales down military presence in Yemen 

According to the report, the maternal mortality rate rose sharply during the war, from five deaths per day in 2013 to 12 deaths in 2018.

The report added that these abstract figures have other consequences, explaining that “when a mother dies, this greatly increases the risk of her children dying”.

“Children who lost their mothers often have little chance of survival”.

According to the report, one child in every 30 children dies during the first month of life where an infant whose mother has died is at higher risk of death either directly because of malnutrition or indirectly through increased exposure to infection.

On behalf of Yemeni children and mothers, UNICEF has called on all parties to the conflict and the international community to stop the war, maintain a functioning health care system, increase resources and improve health-promoting behaviours.