EU–UNICEF partnership enables Community Health Workers to provide a healthy start #ForEveryChild in Yemen

03 July 2018
A girl holds up her vaccination card in Yemen
On 9 May 2018 in Aden, Yemen, a six year-old girl holds up her vaccination card. The first-ever cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen was launched in May 2018 in key high-risk areas. The campaign aims to prevent the resurgence of the world’s largest cholera outbreak.


SANA’A, 03 July 2018 – The European Union and UNICEF are jointly launching a programme in Yemen, ensuring better access to health services for young children and mothers through community and household level interventions. This builds upon the first successful phase of engagement which supported approximately 140,000 beneficiaries out of which 25,000 are children under five years of age and more than 5,000 are pregnant women.

EU Ambassador Antonia Calvo Puerta noted that “notwithstanding the ongoing conflict, the EU keeps supporting one of the key basic services to help Yemeni citizens endure the worst crisis they have ever lived through. We are thankful to the UN system and UNICEF in particular for making it happen. We are strengthening the health system through a network of Community Health Workers to bring the communities closer to health facilities. The EU is close to Yemeni citizens throughout the whole country, notably women and children, who represent the future of this country.”

The one and a half year programme will be implemented in at least 30 districts to help an estimated 959,000 children under 5 years-old and 240,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women to access affordable health care. The programme will have a positive community-wide impact, reaching 798,694 households – a total of 4.7 million people.

“We value our partnership with the European Union,” said Dr. Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Representative in Yemen. “This Primary Health Care programme will allow us to reach even more children and women in hard-to-reach areas. Mobilizing community health workers at this scale has a huge impact in providing the most needed basic health and nutrition services at community levels for the most vulnerable children and women.

Through a community health worker network, rural communities will gain improved access to equitable quality primary health and nutrition services. This also includes a better link up between health workers, health facilities and communities.

Prior to the current crisis, only 60 per cent of the population had access to health facilities. The current crisis in Yemen has put a massive strain on the health system, jeopardizing the ability to meet the most basic health and nutrition needs of children and their families. Half of all health facilities function only partially or not at all, with shortages of essential medicines, equipment and nutrition supplies. Health workers have not been paid in almost two years.

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UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore interacts with children at the child friendly space at the Alqatee'a Health Centre in Aden, Yemen. 25 June 2018
UNICEF Executive Director Henriette H. Fore interacts with children at the child friendly space at the Alqatee'a Health Centre in Aden, Yemen. 25 June 2018

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About the EU

The European Union is a unique political and economic union between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent. In the world, the EU plays an important role in diplomacy and works to foster stability, security and prosperity, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law at international level. Collectively, it is the world's leading donor of humanitarian and development aid, as well as the largest trade block. In Yemen, the EU supports stabilization, resilience and nutrition and health sectors always focusing on the citizen needs. In the health sector, it continues its support to sustain critical health operations, and to build resilience of Yemenis. The on-going EU development assistance in the health sector, amounting to around 70 Million Euros, covers: improved access to basic health care and nutrition services, psycho-social support, maintenance for health care facilities, provision of solar energy, improved water and medical waste management and capacity development to the Ministry at the central and local levels. In coordination with UN, EU agreed also to pay incentives to all staff working in health facilities where EU interventions are implemented.

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