From a small health center to a multifunctional hospital
Marib governorate has become one of the central hubs for displaced civilians
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“The support of UNICEF and its partners is crucial for us as it helps to save the lives of mothers and children, and they are crucial for the survival of our community”, says Sawsan Abdulwahab Hameed, a 28-year-old nurse from Kara Hospital in Marib governorate, Yemen.
Kara Hospital was a small local medical facility only a few years ago. However, shortly after the conflict escalated in Yemen in 2015, UNICEF, in partnership with the King Salman Relief Fund, started helping local authorities develop hospitals and health centers to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the region from becoming worse.
“Since 2015, Kara has transformed from a small health center into a general referral hospital with 13 departments,” says Loai Muhammad Suliman, Kara Hospital Director. “Today, we have over 500 employees, 35 of which are highly-qualified medical specialists and technical personnel.”
The example of Kara Hospital shows how vital the support from UNICEF is for the region. Since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, Marib governorate, where the hospital is located, has become one of the central hubs for displaced civilians. Some 4.3 million women, men, girls and boys have been internally displaced since the start of the conflict. And the numbers are constantly growing.
Of course, it has put all local infrastructure, including healthcare, under tremendous pressure.
“Displacement is one of the main challenges we have to deal with,” says Dalila Muhammad Naji Al Ganadi, a midwife in Kara Hospital and a Supervisor of the Department of reproductive health. “The number of births may reach 300 per month and C-sections, up to 150. At the same time, we still have only two equipped delivery beds and only six beds for patients before and after birth. It puts us, and what is worse, our patients, under severe pressure as we sometimes have to place two women on one bed.”
However, despite all the pressure and challenges they face daily, those brave and selfless people remain happy and proud of their work and of the opportunity to help their local community.
“I am proud of my work as a midwife as I have a chance to save the lives of mothers and children every day,” adds Naji. “Thanks to UNICEF, we can provide services and care for the poor and displaced people, provide them with free examinations, intensive care, and medicines. All this is essential considering poverty, displacement, and the inability to earn a living income.”
Reproductive health, neonatology, and postpartum care are among the most challenging fields for healthcare in Yemen today. Due to poor living conditions, malnutrition among pregnant women, lack of essential information, and inaccessibility of health centers and hospitals in many regions, the rate of high-risk pregnancies and premature birth are truly frightening in Yemen today.
“As a health staff, we consider all those children our responsibility as parents trust us with their lives,” says Dr. Ghafora Al Sanani, a pediatrician and neonatologist at Kara Hospital. “Today, we have 12 incubators, and we hope that UNICEF will continue with their support as we receive more and more cases every day,” she adds. “It is an extremely challenging work, but when you see a child getting better, you feel grateful for an opportunity to accomplish something important!”
“We suffer from so many difficulties in our life,” says Aisha Ali Ghaleb Al Hamel, a mother of 6 who recently gave birth in the Kara Hospital. “This hospital provided me and my baby with professional care. Now that we know about this hospital, we know that there is always someone to support and help our children and us.”