Yemen: Reaching out to the poorest and most isolated

  • International staff: 13
  • National staff: 20 Yemen has experienced relative stability since elections in 1997. Yet even the somewhat stable situation hasn't permitted the state to turn its attention fully to the public health sector. Problems of access to health care remain, especially for the country's poorest and most isolated people. In the mountainous northern region of Al Hazm, MSF has been working since 1997 to improve the overall quality of health care. In the Yemenite culture, doctors rarely touch those who come in for a consultation, and the patients do not even get undressed. One of the goals of the five-year program is to better understand the needs and the expectations of the area's 82,000 people. The lack of qualified health workers means that MSF often has a substitution role. A special emphasis on mother and child care is the natural response to a high maternal mortality rate of about 1,400 deaths for every 100,000 mothers. In Aden, MSF works to rehabilitate health facilities and improve the quality of nursing care, and to train those engaged in mother and child care. To improve the medicine supply system and help establish a sustainable cost recovery structure, a health economist began work in 1999. This vast project to involve the population in the cost recovery system is scheduled to last five years. It encompasses an entire health district in Aden, including 12 clinics and all dispensaries, and reaches about 370,000 people. MSF continues to supply medicine and offer technical support to the health district of Dhi Sufal, in northwestern Yemen. MSF has been working in the country since 1991.