The coronavirus crisis has taken the final toll on Yemen’s already struggling healthcare system, a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) official says.
In an update published on MSF’s website, head of the mission in Yemen Claire HaDuong said while five years of a Saudi war have caused Yemen’s healthcare system to collapse in large parts, “now COVID-19 has made that collapse complete”.
HaDuong said fear of the coronavirus or lack of staff and personal protective equipment has become the contributing factors that have led to the closure of hospitals.
She expressed concern over “preventable deaths” of people who could be saved if healthcare were simply available.
HaDuong said the United Nations and other donor states need to urgently find ways to step up their response, including through hands-on interventions of medical humanitarian agencies and support to the Yemeni health system with money to pay healthcare staff, equipment to protect them, and oxygen concentrators to help sick patients breathe.
As part of its war, Saudi Arabia maintains a crippling blockade on Yemen's ports which are the main conduits for life-saving supplies.
HaDuong stressed the importance of cooperation from local authorities in facilitating the collaboration of international organizations, saying “they need to ensure the entry of medical supplies and international staff to reinforce teams on the ground”.
Since March 2015, Yemen has been heavily invaded by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, trying to return former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power.
The war has killed more than 100,000 people, according to independent sources, and destroyed more than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics.
Sana'a-based Minister of Health and Population Taha al-Mutawakkil confirmed on Saturday that the "US-Saudi alliance" had recently prevented the entry of oil derivatives to Yemen.
According to Mutawakkil, the timing of the oil entry prevention amid the coronavirus crisis serves as a further proof of "the alliance's maliciousness".
As a result of the blockade, intensive care units and operating rooms are on the brink of shutdown, he said.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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