Yemen | Events | WHO supports Yemeni health authorities to fight malaria

WHO supports Yemeni health authorities to fight malaria

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More than 21 million Yemenis lives in at-risk areas for malaria and nearly 7 million live in high-risk areas More than 21 million Yemenis lives in at-risk areas for malaria and nearly 7 million live in high-risk areas 26 April 2018 – With World Bank funding, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to support Yemen’s health authorities to fight malaria and avoid potential setbacks.

More than 21 million Yemenis lives in at-risk areas for malaria, and nearly 7 million live in high-risk areas mostly in the coastal plains of western governorates and some areas in southern governorates. Yemen is suffering from a complex humanitarian crisis; the ongoing conflict has displaced some 1.6 million people to malaria endemic areas.

High rates of malnutrition have increased the risk of vulnerable groups contracting malaria, especially children under 5 and pregnant women, due to their low immune systems. This is a deadly combination.

“Despite conflict and population movement to malaria endemic areas, WHO and Yemeni health authorities have contributed substantially to ensure that those at risk of malaria have access to malaria control and prevention services,” said Dr Nevio Zagaria, WHO Representative in Yemen.

“Yemen has achieved a decline of malaria prevalence over the past 15 years. However, any setback in progress made so far is threatened, if malaria control and prevention efforts by WHO and its partners cannot continue.”

WHO supports health authorities and partners in the development of malaria epidemic detection preparedness and response at district levelWHO supports health authorities and partners in the development of malaria epidemic detection preparedness and response at district levelIn 2017, the World Bank supported WHO with more than US$ 2 million to strengthen vector control interventions in Yemen. Sustaining improved malaria control is a direct result of support by WHO and health partners, like the World Bank. Efforts include distributing long-lasting insecticidal bed nets, introducing updated case management policies based on WHO standards and guidelines, and scaling up diagnostic testing through rapid diagnostic tests and microscopy.

In 2017, WHO facilitated the transportation of 1.5 million bednets to 76 districts in Yemen. This increased the bender coverage to an estimated 3 million people in 8 governorates. Also together with UNICEF, it supported the implementation of an indoor residual spraying campaign providing protection to 1.3 million people against malaria. 

In terms of capacity building, 15 training courses targeting 297 medical doctors and health workers on the clinical management of malaria were also conducted.

Universal access to diagnosis and treatment

WHO is also supporting universal access to malaria diagnosis and treatment in all of Yemen’s governorates. Over the past two years, WHO distributed 1137 basic and supplementary malaria kits which enabled health facilities to test 941 600 patients for malaria by rapid diagnostic tests, which led to the identification and treatment of at least 402 110 malaria cases.  

Financing for malaria control and prevention in Yemen is dependent on sufficient funding and strong health partnerships that have been hampered by the ongoing conflict. WHO is working with health partners to avoid any interruption of malaria life-saving activities.

“Without rapid response measures, proper case management and proper surveillance, many areas in the country may be prone to malaria outbreaks. WHO has scaled up its support to respond in curbing any possible surge in cases,” Dr Zagaria continued. 

WHO plans to support health authorities and partners in the development of malaria epidemic detection, preparedness, and response at district level. Major activities in 2018 include vector control campaigns targeting 2 million people at risk of malaria in western and southern governorates and strengthening the entomological surveillance in 16 vector control sites.  

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 25 235
Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure) 3.9
Primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 1.5
Life expectancy 65.7

Source: Country statistical profiles 2017

See Yemen country profile

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