Yemen suffers from extremely deteriorating health conditions and the health situation in it cannot be described as less than catastrophic, as a result of the war that has been going on for nearly six years between government forces supported by Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the Houthi militia supported by Iran, who control a number of governorates, including the capital, Sana’a. Since September 2014, the health disaster in Yemen is not limited to the Coronavirus “Covid-19”, as there are epidemics, viruses and diseases that have spread since 2016. During the past years, Yemen ranked last in the Arab and World Health Index.
There are many epidemics, viruses, and diseases that Yemenis have been struggling with since the war began in 2014, especially in areas with high poverty rates and no health centers available. Hundreds have been injured in light of the collapse of the health situation due to the six-year war, and the health situation in Yemen cannot be described as less than catastrophic.
“Malaria” broke out in Yemen in 2017, and more than 50 thousand people were infected with “malaria”, and more than 40% of the population of Yemen was infected with “malaria”.
And in many areas of the Thami Plain in Yemen, the mosquitoes that transmit the disease “malaria” are widespread, bearing in mind that the residents of these poor areas do not follow healthy methods in terms of using water, which contributes to the spread of the disease.
The governorate of “Hajjah” in northwestern Yemen ranks third in terms of the outbreak of “malaria” after the governorate of “Taiz” in southwestern Yemen and the governorate of “Hodeidah” located in western Yemen, noting that the disease spreads in most directorates in the governorate, and kills a large number of citizens Among them are children annually.
The most important reason for the spread of diseases in these hot areas is the cessation of spraying campaigns to control mosquitoes and harmful insects, due to the lack of materials and the special budget in health facilities. In addition to the above, the lack of medicines and the lack of support for medical centers to cope with the fevers that are widespread.
Malaria is an infectious parasitic disease caused by a parasitic organism called Plasmodium or Plasmodium, transmitted by mosquitoes, and this parasite infiltrates the red blood cells in the human body, destroying them, and this is associated with a set of symptoms, the most important of which are fever, anemia and an enlarged spleen.
The parasite causing “malaria” was discovered on November 6, 1880 AD in the military hospital in “Constantine Algeria” by a doctor in the French army named “Alphonse Laveran” who won the “Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology” for the year 1907 AD for his discovery.
On January 19, 2018, “Doctors Without Borders” organization said that “malaria” continues to spread in Yemen, in light of a weak health system due to the ongoing war in the country.
The organization said in a statement on its website that while suspected cases of “diphtheria – an epidemic (diphtheria)” and an outbreak of “cholera” were the focus of attention in recent months, “malaria” continues to affect thousands of Yemeni residents.
The statement indicated that the disease is spreading in the most vulnerable areas, such as: “Wadi Osman” in “Amran” governorate.
The statement also indicated that in 2017, Doctors Without Borders treated more than ten thousand patients with “malaria”, and among the 3225 consultations provided, 654 cases of “malaria” (more than 20%) were provided.
In 2017, the “Doctors Without Borders” organization alone treated more than 10 thousand people with “malaria” in Yemen, where most deaths due to the disease can be attributed to the lack of early diagnosis and treatment due to poor access to health care and the absence of means of prevention.
During the past years before the start of the war in Yemen, the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population was responding to the high incidence of “malaria” by providing treatment by providing health centers with supplies of medicines and controlling disease vectors by distributing mosquito nets to the population and spraying insecticides. However, due to the war and the collapse of the health system, the Ministry of Public Health and Population cannot maintain the same level of response, and therefore the situation has deteriorated. Malaria cases in Yemen alone have reached more than 341,000 cases.
It is worth noting that the Yemeni Ministry of Health revealed in November that the total number of “malaria” cases was estimated at about “1.5 million annually”, indicating that the death rates from the disease and its complications were estimated at between “15 and 30 thousand annually”.
Malaria spreads when a mosquito bites a previously infected person, absorbs blood and parasites, and then bites another person.
Most cases of “malaria” are caused by the parasite “Plasmodium falciparum” that moves from the saliva of a female mosquito to enter the human bloodstream when it bites it.
The parasite passes through the liver and infects the red blood cells, where it multiplies in huge numbers, which leads to their explosion and the production of more parasites inside the body of the infected person.
After the lapse of seven or more days after being exposed to the bite of mosquitoes carrying the parasites of “malaria”, the first symptoms of infection are fever, headache and vomiting, which are difficult to quickly link with “malaria”. Falciparum malaria, if not treated within 24 hours, can develop into severe disease, often resulting in death.