Yemen: Pregnant women die of malnutrition, UNFPA chief warns of emergency

Yemen: Pregnant women die of malnutrition, UNFPA chief warns of emergency

The war-torn humanitarian crisis in Yemen is currently exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is devastating to the country’s poorer populations.

To understand the severity of the situation, it is sufficient to study the demographics of the country. Out of the total population of about 30 million, 20 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, suffering from extreme hunger and starvation.

More than half of the 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid in Yemen are women and girls, a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) statement said.

Noting the issue of the subject, UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem recently launched a three-day trip to Yemen and called for peace in a country that has known nothing but conflict for six years, since Houthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa in 2015.

“The situation is catastrophic,” Kanem said after her visit, highlighting the unbelievable situations facing pregnant women and teenage girls in Yemen.

“I am deeply concerned about the safety and reproductive health of women and girls in Yemen,” Kanem said. “More than a million pregnant women are at risk of malnutrition; this number could double if we do not take urgent action. “

According to data released by UNFPA, a woman in Yemen dies every two hours from pregnancy complications. And women who are able to reach hospital are considered lucky.

Traveling while suffering from severe malnutrition makes travel very dangerous, especially when you are carrying an unborn baby. Coupled with the nearby road infrastructure that is scarce in many parts of the country and with only 20 per cent of functional health facilities providing maternal and child health services – it’s hard to ignore the harsh truth that marks life so much every day.

“I’ve been to many maternity wards, and they’re usually a place of joy,” Kanem said. “But in Yemen, I’ve seen malnutrition and starvation damage, with newborns on feeding tubes. and mothers weakened by fear and fatigue. , ”Said the UNFPA Chief.

“It is heartbreaking to see fellow family members in such a predicament … Yemeni women and girls deserve peace. “

During his visit, Kanem visited several UNFPA facilities in Aden, which are among very few safe havens for women and girls still active in the country, according to Kanem.

In Sanaa, she visited a UNFPA-supported specialist psychological care center, where women and families receive mental health care and treatment. According to a 2017 study, 1 in 5 people suffer from mental health problems in Yemen.

“The world must act now to save the lives of innocent civilians,” Kanem said, urging the world’s powers to intervene immediately before this crisis takes place. humanity is getting worse.

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, according to a statement by the agency. UNFPA’s mission is to deliver a world where all pregnancies, all safe births and the potential of all young people are fulfilled. UNFPA calls for the implementation of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, quality maternity health care and comprehensive sexuality education.