The UN warned that Yemen “continues to face a protracted political, humanitarian and developmental crisis”.
The Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has revived work to construct the Ibn Khaldun dialysis centre in crises-hit Yemen’s Lahj governorate on Monday, providing kidney patients with life-saving treatment.
“QRCS resumes the construction of Ibn Khaldun Hospital’s 12-machine dialysis centre in Lahj Governorate, Yemen, as the first in the region to provide dialysis services and medical consultations for 500 patients per month, at a total cost of $298,145,” the Qatari entity said in a statement.
The Qatari project aims to provide much-needed assistance to Yemen’s health sector as it grapples with the compounded effects of years of war and instability which have turned the country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The Qatari project initially commenced in 2015 before it was paused due to the war in Yemen. The new centre is set to treat hundreds of patients with at least 12 dialysis machines, offering a glimmer of hope for patients in need of treatment.
“This is the only central dialysis hospital in the governorate. It receives patients from 16 directorates. There are over 100 cases of renal failure in Lahj. I would like to thank QRCS for its efforts to resume the project, which had been commenced in 2015, but halted due to the war,” Dr. Abdul-Majeed Atef, Director-General of Ibn Khaldun Hospital, said.
According to Ahmed Abdullah Turki, governor and head of the local council, the centre is expected to “ease the burden on the residents” who were previously forced to travel long distances and wait for hours in order to receive urgent treatment.
Cost of war
Since 2015, Yemen has been riddled in a deadly war between the Saudi coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels following the latter’s capture of the capital Sanaa.
An estimated 158,000 people have been killed during the conflict, per figures published by the United Nations in March.
However, Yemen has experienced a period of relative calm this year following talks between Saudi and Omani delegations with Houthi rebel officials in the capital Sanaa. Recent reports said the talks resumed this week between the concerned parties.
Despite the lull in violence, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen has persisted and thousands of Yemenis with kidney failure are suffering from the “hidden cost of war”.
A shocking 25% of dialysis patients in Yemen have died every year since the beginning of the conflict, per figures published by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2018.
Humanitarian organisations around the world have increased their calls on the international community to back their operations on the ground in Yemen. More than 21 million people in the country are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, with 17.3 million of the population suffering from acute food insecurity.
According to the UN, Yemen’s humanitarian response plan has only received 31% of the required $4.34 billion.
Last month, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced the suspension of its malnutrition prevention intervention in Yemen starting from August citing “critical funding shortfalls”.
The UN warned that Yemen “continues to face a protracted political, humanitarian and developmental crisis”. The intergovernmental organisation called on all sides to “take concrete steps” to end Yemen’s war, noting ongoing sporadic fighting and exchanges of gunfire in some areas.
“Against this backdrop, there have been public threats to return to war. This rhetoric is not conducive to maintaining a fruitful mediation environment,” UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg said.