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US-Backed Saudi Blockade Causing Deaths of Thousands of Newborns Due to Lack of Incubators

On Wednesday 4th January 2023, the Minister of Public Health and Population Dr. Taha Al-Mutawakel stated that 50% of premature babies lose their lives in Yemen due to the consequences of the US-backed Saudi Coalition and its imposed blockade.

This was revealed during the third scientific medical conference on neonatal diseases in Sana by Al-Sabeen Hospital for Maternity and Childhood. Lack of equipment, medical experts and medicines were the key factors behind the drastic numbers of newborn deaths, which according to the hospital, were caused by the blockade imposed on Yemen.

The health sector reported that the war torn country does not have enough incubators for newborns. They currently have only 600 and require 2000 to tend to the needs of all newborns.

According to the Minister of Health, the first incident that fatally claimed the life of a woman and her unborn baby occurred eight years ago, citing how the Saudi coalition airstrikes have killed and injured more than 16,000 children and women ever since.

The Director General of Al-Sabeen Hospital, Dr. Majda Al-Khatib, said that the war and the siege has led to a surge in the deaths of 2,227 newborns since 2016. These deaths were caused by the lack of sufficient incubators. 

UNICEF Representative Dr. Kabir said that 52,000 children die every year with a child dying every ten minutes, which has resulted in Yemen suffering the highest child mortality rate in the Middle East. He further mentioned how 50% of newborn deaths could be prevented if the most basic of healthcare could be provided. 

Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population summoned international organizations working in the health sector and implored them to adhere to their responsibilities, further support the health system and brace firmly for the rise of epidemics. 

During a press conference that took place in Sana’a to mark the International Day of Preparedness for Epidemics, the Saudi-Emirati coalition took responsibility for the weakening health situation and the rapid spread of epidemics in Yemen. This was in the presence of the Public Health and Population Minister, Dr. Taha Al-Mutawakel, and the undersecretaries of the Ministry and Directors of General and Programs. 

The ministry even asked the United Nations to compel the war mongers to stop the war, lift the blockade and even reopen the capital’s international airports, which will allow them to further prepare for and control epidemics.

Strategies of how to control diseases and surveillance programs, alongside the detrimental effects of the war on the epidemiological situation in Yemen, were also put on the table. 

Factors that resulted in the severe epidemiological situation in Yemen were also mentioned. Displacement, the spread of skin and respiratory diseases, the lack of water and sanitation, the targeting of health facilities by direct and indirect bombardment, the lack of oil derivatives in health facilities, as well as preventing the entry of diagnostic devices, vital medicines, laboratory reagents and antiserums.

With the blockade being one of the key factors fueling the worsening situation unfolding in Yemen, millions took to the streets on January 7th to condemn the siege imposed on them by the US-Backed Saudi coalition, according to Al Masirah.

Banners of Abdul Malik al-Houthi, the current leader of the Ansarullah movement were flying across the streets as people carried them and chanted slogans heavily condemning the illegal economic blockade on Yemen.

With Yemen now entering its ninth year of war, the situation continues to decline at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc in the already impoverished country. 

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  • Zamena Manekia Manji

    Zamena Manekia Manji is a breaking news writer for TMJ News with experience of over 10 years in the field. Her areas of focus are important breaking stories in North America specifically untold stories from a minority lens.

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