Yemen is reeling from multiple crises, including outbreaks of disease, economic crises, fuel shortages, rising inflation and disruption of food imports, with the war in Ukraine further affecting the supply and price of food. More than 80% of Yemenis live below the poverty line, putting households at a greater risk of food insecurity. The health system in the country is barely functioning. In places where it does, most patients cannot access healthcare facilities due to the high cost of transportation resulting from fuel shortages.
Zaidan Abdullah Al-Bashaa is 21 months old. He lives in Al-Thohor village in Al Qafr district with his twin, Zaid, and his parents. Both brothers were suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). While Zaid did not have complications, Zaidan had constant diarrhoea and fever, and his condition was critical. He weighed 2.6 kg (5.7 lb), with a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) of 7.9 cm (3.1 in). A healthy MUAC for a child his age and size is more than 12.5 cm (4.9 in). “My husband is unemployed, so due to our poor economic condition, we could not afford the transportation cost to a hospital in Ibb,” explained Zaidan’s mother, Haliah Ali Al-Bashaa.
Community health and nutrition volunteers from International Medical Corps met Zaidan during their routine checks in the village. When they saw that Zaidan was suffering from SAM, the volunteers quickly referred him to the Al Kharbah health facility. There, the staff referred him on to the Rehab district hospital, about two hours away from their village by car. International Medical Corps helped the family cover the transportation cost to the hospital.
“Zaidan was suffering from SAM, along with medical complications like poor appetite, severe dehydration and persistent diarrhoea,” said Murad Mohammed Al-Adeeb, a doctor at the hospital. Zaidan underwent treatment for 27 days, after which the doctor referred him back to the Al Kharbah health facility to complete his treatment until he fully recovered from SAM.
With International Medical Corps’ integrated program, Zaidan’s health began to improve. The infant and young-child feeding team provided nutrition counselling to Haliah to improve her feeding practices for her children, while the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) team provided her with a hygiene kit and medications for Zaidan. In addition, the Food, Security and Livelihood (FSL) team at International Medical Corps distributed livestock to Haliah’s family—and to other households with malnourished children in the surrounding villages of targeted health facilities—so that they could benefit from nutritious milk as well as livelihood opportunities.
International Medical Corps has been running the integrated program (featuring health, nutrition, FSL and WASH services) in Al Qafr district for more than two years. This programme aims to provide households with a complete package to treat malnutrition and provide a source of income for families.
With the constant support of International Medical Corps for three months, Zaidan’s MUAC finally improved, and he no longer suffers from SAM or other medical complications.”
We thank International Medical Corps’ Nutrition team for their support and urgent assistance. We pray they can reach more children like Zaidan and help improve their health,” Haliah said.