Yemen: Dialysis treatment at breaking point

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 — Dialysis treatment centres in Yemen are at breaking point, putting at risk the lives of some 4,400 people with renal failure, warned international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) today.

Since the beginning of the recent crisis in March 2015, medical staff have struggled to obtain the materials needed for dialysis sessions.

The ongoing war and restrictions on imports have badly affected Yemen’s health system and its ability to provide sufficient lifesaving medications to those medical facilities that still function.

“People with renal failure are at a critical moment as there is a lack of essential medical supplies in the country,” says William Turner, MSF head of mission in Yemen. “Patients usually need three dialysis sessions per week but, under current circumstances, for most people this has been reduced to two sessions.”

Lack of essential medical supplies

MSF has provided supplies to four of the dialysis centres in most urgent need in Sana’a, Hajja, Taiz and Al Mahweet, and will provide medications and supplies to treat a total of 660 patients over a six-month period.

However, most of the 28 functioning dialysis centres in Yemen are short of essential supplies, causing interruptions in treatment to patients in need.

“If patients do not get their weekly sessions, they will die – it’s as simple as that,” says Dr Adel Al Hagami, head of the dialysis centre in Sana’a’s Al Jumhori hospital.

Malak Shaher/MSF

4,400 patients with renal failure

MSF is calling on international organisations to step up and provide Yemen’s dialysis centres with urgently needed supplies.

“There are treatment facilities in the country and there are adequate numbers of trained staff,” says Turner.

“The imperative now is for these centres to receive regular medical supplies so they can continue to provide reliable lifesaving treatment. The war has crippled the health system’s financial ability to import the necessary supplies, making the need for external support of the highest priority.”

MSF IN YEMEN

In Yemen, MSF is working in eight Yemeni governorates. Since March 2015, we have sent more than 1,400 tonnes of medical supplies and treated more than 41,000 war wounded patients.