ADEN/YEMEN: DYING BABIES and no doctors : a look inside a Yemeni hospital. When Kenan was born four months premature, there were no doctors at al-Sadaqa Hospital to care for him. So his grandmothers tried to save him.

They placed the infant in an incubator, but it was broken. They tried a second one. It wouldn't heat up.

It had been 24 hours since a doctor had last visited the hospital. A day earlier, a physician was beaten up during an argument with the militiamen who were supposed to guard the hospital, and the doctors walked out in protest.

Yemen's civil war had already crippled the hospital, the largest civilian public hospital in southern Yemen. Now it was completely paralysed, illustrating the fragility of a health system broken by war and utterly incapable of caring for the victims of what United Nation calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Hospitals and clinics have been bombed and mortared. Shortages of essential drugs, vaccines and medical equipment are widespread. In most government health facilities, staff haven't been paid in a year.

Kennan's grandmothers scrambled to find a working incubator.

''We brought him to the third one,'' said Um Salah Hussein, one of the grandmother, ''and that's where he died''.

''There was no oxygen and there was no help,'' chimed in Um Mohammed Zaid, his other grandmother, staring at the baby's corpse, wrapped in a red cloth still inside the incubator.''

The baby's twin brother had died a day earlier. Now, Kenan's mother, who had been asleep recuperating, awoke to learn her remaining son was gone.

The dispute at the hospital was the latest tragedy for a health-care system that has been steadily eroded by a conflict putting northern rebels against Yemen's internationally recognised government.

The sadness in honor and serving continues


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!