Yemen: Dialysis treatment at breaking point

Sana’a Dialysis treatment centres in Yemen are at a breaking point, as they have been struggling since the beginning of the war to obtain materials needed for dialysis sessions.

Since March 2015, the war and import restrictions have badly affected the health system in the country and its ability to provide sufficient life-saving drugs to still-functioning medical facilities.

“People with renal failure are at a critical moment, as there is a lack of essential medical supplies in the country. Patients usually need three dialysis sessions per week but under current circumstances, for most, this has been reduced to two sessions.” said William Turner, MSF Head of Mission in Yemen.

MSF is providing drugs and supplies that will be used to treat a total of 660 patients over a six month period. Supplies have reached four dialysis centres that are in most urgent need in Sana’a, Hajja, Taiz and Al-Mahweet. However, most of the 28 functioning centres in Yemen lack supplies, causing interruptions in treatment for patients in need. “If patients do not get their weekly sessions, they will die. It’s as simple as that,” said D Adel Al-Hagami, head of the Dialysis Treatment Centre in Al-Jumhori Hospital in Sana’a.

MSF is calling on international organisations to step up and support these centres, as more than 4,400 patients with renal failure are facing a life-threatening condition, and are in a critical situation.  

“There are treatment facilities in the country and adequate numbers of trained staff. The imperative now is for these centres to receive regular medical supplies and continue to provide reliable life-saving treatment. The war has crippled the health system’s financial ability to import the necessary supplies making the need for external support the highest priority” says Turner.

MSF is a medical international organisation that provides life-saving healthcare according to medical ethics. MSF is working in 69 countries around the world, including Yemen. In Yemen, MSF is working in eight governorates, brought in more than 1,400 tonnes of medical supplies and has treated more than 41,000 war wounded since March 2015.