Young boy at the Al Salakana Hospital in the Al Hali district of Hodeida governerate.

Mobile health clinics: fighting to save lives in Yemen

Last year, I was on a mission to Hajjah in northern Yemen where Save the Children is providing healthcare, water and food to the most vulnerable families.

I accompanied one of our health teams who travel to remote areas to provide life-saving services where people have no access to doctors.

As Yemen is in the throes of the world’s worst cholera outbreak, children are paying the highest price of a health system in ruins.

Our mobile clinics are a life-line to the most vulnerable children.

Development in reverse                               

It was a long, dangerous, and difficult journey to reach people in need.

Along the way to Save the Children’s mobile clinics, there were few signs of modern life such as cars, schools, hospitals, or paved roads.

As airstrikes have wiped-out essential services, it feels like we’ve gone back in time, with people using primitive tools rather than modern ones.

People are forced to use herbs and plants instead of modern medicines, and livestock has replaced cars.

It made me realise the vital importance of our teams who are providing quality healthcare. I feel proud to be part of this team.

A lifeline for families

When we arrived at a school, hundreds of people were already waiting for us. The corridor was so full of people needing care that I couldn’t even enter the room.

Old women and mothers carrying their children queued for their turn to receive care. Many had walked for hours.

The doctor told me that this clinic alone treated more than three hundred people every single day, as there are few remaining health services in the area.

Most had been forced to close due to the threat of airstrikes, constant power cuts, or simply not having enough medicine or supplies.

Reem* received a food basket and psychosocial support from the Save the Children team in Sa'ada. Here she shows some of the items damaged from the airstrike explosions which impacted her house
Reem* received a food basket and psychosocial support from the Save the Children team in Sa’ada. Here she shows some of the items damaged from the airstrike explosions which impacted her house.

25-year-old Maram told me that despite the dangers of the journey, she comes here once a week with her malnourished two-year-old daughter to receive treatment and emergency nutrition and follow up treatment after her pregnancy.

She has to walk for five hours through mountainous roads because she can’t afford public transport.

She had to give birth to her youngest daughter at home because she had no money to go to the hospital.

Maria’s story

The suffering of the people in this clinic is evident. Sadly, their story reflects the reality of all Yemeni people.

Homadi visits our mobile team in a desperate attempt to rescue his 13-month-old daughter, Maria, who suffers from malnutrition and liver problems.

“My daughter is sick. I did what I could to rescue her, and now my child is in God’s hands. I had an eighteen-month-old son, he suffered from the same symptoms and died early when he was the same age. I feel so sad about losing him.”

For children like Maria, our mobile clinics often mean the difference between life and death.

Children, not statistics

The children of Yemen must never be treated as unfortunate statistics or collateral damage. They are children and should be free to play, to learn, to hear stories and get cuddles from mum and dad.

Instead, they’ve been bombed, brutalised, and forced to witness things no child should ever see. Many have lost everything: their homes, their friends – even their parents.

These children are suffering. They need your help. They need food, water and medical treatment. They need to be protected and given the chance to just be children again. And it’s the simple things – sometimes a short course of antibiotics could save a child’s life.

We’re working as hard as we can, but we need more help. Please support our Yemen appeal if you can.

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