Rotating medical teams deployed across Hajjah

Getting lifesaving assistance to those who need it most

Before receiving treatment, the baby girl is assessed for severe acute malnutrition
UNICEF Yemen/2019

01 December 2019

The ongoing humanitarian crisis has heavily imapcted the lives of families in Hajjah, a governorate in northern Yemen. The UN estimates that over 2 million people in Hajjah are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. With an economy on the brink of collapse and ongoing security concerns many families are displaced from their homes and are struggling to access the basics they need to survive. Heartbreakingly, as a result, many children suffer from severe acute malnutrition. 

Hajjah has many hard-to-reach areas making the delivery of aid to families in need extremely difficult. In response to the increasing numbers of children suffering from malnutirtion, with support from UNICEF USA and Latter-Day Saints Charities, UNICEF and their implementing partner, Relief International, deploy rotating medical teams in the hardest to reach communities.

The rotating medical teams were able to reach this twelve month old baby with life saving treatment. She was brought by a community health volunteer (CHV) and her mother to a medical team in Bakil Almir district, after the CHV discovered her during a house-to-house visit. The CHV discovered her mother was anaemic and after not receiving any antenatal care, had stopped breastfeeding her daughter.

The baby girl was immediately examined by a rotating health worker and registered into the outpatient treatment programme (OTP). The little girl showed signs of severe wasting and respiratory disease, weighing only 6 kilograms. She was also diagnosed with pneumonia.

Unfortunately, cases like this are tragically common in the region. To address the catastrophic need for life-saving health and nutrition services, Relief International has implemented an integrated health and nutrition project in six rural and hard-to-reach districts of the governorate. For 25 months, the UNICEF-funded project provided services for communities in desperate need of assistance.

The baby girl was immediately started on treatment. The lifesaving treatment included supplies of ready-to-use-therapeutic-food (RUTF)/Plump Nut, antibiotics and regular check-ups with the rotating medical team. After 10 weeks she had gained weight and fully recovered.  

A yemeni child after 3 months of treatment in the outpatient therapeutic feeding programme
UNICEF Yemen/2019
After 3 months of treatment in the outpatient therapeutic feeding programme

After the girl’s discharge, Relief International provided her mother with a hygiene kit to help protect the family against water borne disease that so often contributes to malnutrition in children. In Hajjah all families receiving care in this programme get these vital kits.

Visibly grateful, the girl’s mother thanked Relief International for the all the assistance and was recruited to become a ‘model mother’ in her community. She is now tasked with helping to spread awareness in the community about malnutrition and recommend children under 2 receive check-ups with community health volunteers in the district. Despite the ongoing challenges brought by the conflict, these simple interventions continue to save lives.