Support to Combat Hunger and Disease
UNICEF German National Committee has supported a therapeutic feeding center, or TFC, in Raymah Governorate, western Yemen
Most children in Yemeni villages are threatened by malnutrition and disease. Lacking ready access to healthcare and essential health information, they often struggle to recover without the aid of medicine.
Since January 2022, funding from the UNICEF German National Committee has supported a therapeutic feeding center, or TFC, in Raymah Governorate, western Yemen. From January to June, the clinic helped 55 children suffering from acute malnutrition.
A mobile team from the center provides health services, medicines, and vaccines to more than 12,200 children and 4,500 pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Ertizaq Kahtan Ahmed Al-Naqeeb, 24, is a mother of three, ranging from one to three years old. She is from Saylat Al-Hadi, Raymah Governorate.
Al-Naqeeb and her husband traveled three hours to seek treatment for Saddam at the TFC. Saddam weighed just four kilograms when he arrived. Attentive care stabilized his condition, and his weight rose to six kilograms within two weeks.
“I did not expect Saddam to survive,” remembers Al-Naqeeb. “My husband is a day laborer and rarely makes more than five dollars a day. We have overcome many challenges, and our most important success is my son’s recovery at the TFC.”
Hamamah Ali Hassan Mohammed Al-Kusai’a is a community midwife. She works in a mobile clinic extending care to pregnant and lactating women, referring critical cases to regional hospitals.
“UNICEF supports us with medicines and transportation,” she says. “We work day and night, and sometimes we have to walk along roads that are too rugged for car traffic. Our troubles are nothing compared to the cases we encounter. All some families have to eat is bread dipped in tea.”
“Poor breastfeeding habits can lead to severe cases of malnutrition and diarrhea, but awareness campaigns are extremely effective. Mothers—and even girls too young to be mothers—are eager to learn about these things, and to share their knowledge with others.”
One Clinic is Not Enough
Abdullah Ibrahim Ali Al-Hayth, 38, is a nutrition coordinator in Mazhar District. He is particularly involved with deploying mobile clinics as field teams to extend health care, nutrition, vaccination, and reproduction health services in rural villages.
“A single mobile clinic in Mazhar District is not enough to provide health services,” he observes, “because of the dispersed population and difficult terrain. The district is made up of mountain ranges, valleys, and lightly populated sub-districts, which makes it impossible for a single team to reach every area.”
The clinic serves 16 villages. However, Abdullah hopes to see enough support in the future to properly serve the entire region, whose population is more than 100,000, about 17,360 of them children under the age of five, 603 of whom are affected with malnutrition.
Importance of Vaccines
Dr. Abul Malik Mansour Abdullah, 27, supervises the mobile clinic in Al-Kusai’ Village, Mazhar District, Raymah Governorate.
“We explain the importance of vaccination and nutrition,” notes Dr. Abdullah, “and UNICEF provides supplementary feeding. Our mobile team includes a midwife to vaccinate women and deliver nutrition advice, vaccines, medicines, and vitamins. We have improved the health of more than 90 Al-Kusai’ residents, and have vaccinated 1,218 people in the last three months.”
Glimpses of Hope
The TFC opened in response to a 75 per cent increase in malnutrition cases in 2021, according to Mazhar District’s health director, Dr. Yahya Abdu Murad. Transportation expenses in the district are high, and the center offers a crucial glimmer of hope for children and families. The center needs ongoing support to keep it adequately supplied, and to compensate its staff on a regular schedule.