Yemen | Programme areas | Emergency preparedness and humanitarian action

Emergency preparedness and humanitarian action

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The emergency preparedness and humanitarian action programme in Yemen works under the supervision of the WHO Representative at the country level with technical guidance by the regional coordinator of the emergency preparedness and humanitarian action programme.

The programme provides technical support to the Ministry of Public Health and Population, the health cluster and health partners on public health interventions.

The emergency preparedness and humanitarian action programme works to:

reduce the health consequences of emergencies, disasters and crises

reduce the morbidity and mortality burden due to communicable disease outbreaks

establish and strengthen a coordination mechanism for emergency response with Ministry of Public Health and Population and health programme implementers in emergencies.

Health cluster coordination

WHO is lead agency of the health cluster in Yemen. The health cluster was activated in September 2009 to ensure a coordinated response to the humanitarian health needs of affected and other vulnerable populations, especially women and children.

Since February 2010, the health cluster has been able to provide assistance to all internally displaced persons living in camps and to cover 30% of those living outside camps. 

Monitoring and investigation of disease outbreaks is an important public health activity where achievements have met the target goals. The health cluster has advocated high implementation rates for vaccination campaigns but lack of transport, electricity and the breakdown of cold chains due to conflict has meant a lower vaccination coverage rate than in previous years. 

The health cluster has been able to respond to epidemic outbreaks, including cholera in Abyan, and mass casualty management of victims of civil unrest through grassroots movements and volunteers.

Health cluster achievements incude:

  • health contingency plans prepared for different scenarios such as crises in the north and south, political conflict and non-displaced populations
  • standardized package prepared for primary health care services
  • standardized package prepared for reproductive health, with reporting indicators
  • implementation of the standardized disease reporting formats.

The programme will continue to facilitate monitoring and information sharing, and ensure that all funded projects have comprehensive monitoring and evaluation components. Regular health cluster updates based on target achievements will be prepared and disseminated among all relevant actors, including donor agencies. Additionally, mid-year and end-year reviews will continue to inform cluster activities.

Health response and coordination

Disease control

Disease control focuses on:

minimizing risk of polio importation to Yemen

controlling measles outbreaks through nationwide measles campaigns

prevention and control of rabies

reducing cholera outbreaks in Abyan and neighbouring governorates

controlling chikungunya/dengue fever outbreaks.

Provision of primary health care services

In cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health and Population and other partners, WHO is providing a primary health care package of health services to affected populations in the north and south of Yemen. These services are being delivered through:

Three joint Ministry of Public Health and Population/WHO fixed health centres in the internally displaced persons camps at Haradh, Harf Sufyan Hospital and Khaiwan

10 joint Ministry of Public Health and Population/WHO fixed health teams in different districts

13 mobile teams in Hajjah, Aden, Lahj and Al-Jowf governorates for service delivery to internally displaced persons living outside the camps.

More than 243 819 medical consultations in 2011 and 91 513 consultations from January to April 2012 were provided by the Ministry of Public Health and Population/WHO through fixed and mobile clinics in different areas.

Capacity-building at the national level

A number of national and international staff working with WHO and the Ministry of Public Health and Population participated in capacity-building initiatives such as Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) proposal writing, analyzing disrupted health systems, managing public health risks during emergencies, health cluster coordinator training and global health cluster meetings. In addition, 54 national participants were trained in Haradh on disease surveillance.

Delivery of essential and emergency medicines and supplies

WHO supported health services to internally displaced persons, hosting communities, war affected populations and populations affected by the conflict, through international procurement of interagency emergency health kits, trauma kits and diarrhoea disease kits, and local procurement of other urgently needed life saving supplies.

Related link

WHO emergency and humanitarian response programme

Health Cluster

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 27 426
Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure) 3.9
Primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 1.6
Life expectancy 65.3

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

See Yemen country profile

Regional Health Observatory

Contact us

WHO Representative
PO Box 543