Field update: Responding to malnutrition in Sada’a

UNICEF with vital support from EU humanitarian aid cover the operation costs to ensure essential Health centres running all day, every day for families in need

UNICEF Yemen
Dr. Ali Mohammed is a doctor in the malnutrition department at Al-Jamhori Hospital.
UNICEF Yemen/2020
23 July 2020

The therapeutic feeding centre at the Al-Jamhori Hospital in Sada’a welcomes thousands of families seeking lifesaving care for their malnourished children. The area continues to see the impact of over five years of conflict which has less to mass displacement and a health system on the brink of collapse. Health workers are a lifeline for the acutely malnourished children who come through their doors.

Al-Jamhori Hospital has been receiving vital support from UNICEF’s partner EU humanitarian aid who cover the operation costs to ensure the centre keeps running all day, every day for families in need. Their vital support also covers incentives for health workers who, because of the humanitarian crisis have not received salaries in over three years.

Dr. Ali Mohammed is a doctor in the malnutrition department at Al-Jamhori Hospital. “”I have worked in this hospital for 10 years; we receive a lot of cases from different areas in Saada city and from other governorates like Amran and Al-Jawf and patients come to Al-Jamhori hospital to receive medical services," says Dr. Ali when asked about the services run here for the community. The centre is particularly important for cases of severe acute malnutrition with complications. Cases are referred from all nearby governorates and families can receive free medical care.

A child is suffering from an acute malnutrition receives treatment at the Al-Jamhori Hospital in Saada
UNICEF Yemen/2020
A child is suffering from an acute malnutrition receives treatment at the Al-Jamhori Hospital in Saada

One such family is that of Abdullah Saleh Ahmed from the Al-Saifi area. He has three children; his third was admitted for life-saving care at the centre.

“My third boy was affected by a chest disease and we treated him outside the hospital, but he didn’t get improved from the treatment. So, we admitted him to Al-Jamhori Hospital a week ago, they treated him and he's health is better,"

Says Abdullah Ahmed, A father of a malnourished child
Abduallah Saleh Ahmed and his son who is receiving treatment after severe acute malnutrition complicated by a chest infection
UNICEF Yemen/2020
Abduallah Saleh Ahmed and his son who is receiving treatment after severe acute malnutrition complicated by a chest infection
Ahmed Abdullah Hamdan, 7 months old is receiving treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Al-Jumhori Hospital
UNICEF Yemen/2020
Ahmed Abdullah Hamdan, 7 months old is receiving treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Al-Jumhori Hospital

As COVID-19 spreads through Yemen the fragile nation’s health system risks being rapidly overwhelmed, largely due to a lack of appropriate facilities, staff and equipment.

As COVID-19 spreads through Yemen the fragile nation’s health system risks being rapidly overwhelmed, largely due to a lack of appropriate facilities, staff and equipment.

UNICEF is expecting that this will cause an additional 30,000 children to develop life-threatening severe acute malnutrition over the next six months, with the number of malnourished children rising to up to 2.4 million overall. As more children become malnourished, they will have lower immunity levels and higher susceptibility to death and serious complications from diseases, including COVID-19. 

Services like those offered at the Al-Jamhori hospital are a vital lifeline for malnourished children and a reminder to communities in the area that they are not forgotten.

Doctors assess a malnourished child referred to the Al-Jumhori Hospital
UNICEF Yemen/2020
Doctors assess a malnourished child referred to the Al-Jumhori Hospital