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Healthcare gaps in Yemen

31 January 2017

Will Turner, MSF former head of mission in Yemen, intervenes on the healthcare gaps in Taiz.

Taiz governorate, in south-western Yemen, has been seeing some of the heaviest and most sustained fighting since the conflict escalated in 2015.

The city centre of Taiz has been besieged by Houthi forces since April 2015, blocking trade and depriving the population of humanitarian assistance. Access to health care is very complicated; only a few health facilities remain operational and active fighting and a closed frontline are making it difficult for the wounded and sick to reach them. Civilians have also been directly targeted, and health structures hit.

MSF has been providing medications and supplies to several hospitals in Taiz, also inside the besieged area, since early May 2015. In November 2015, MSF opened a Mother and Child Hospital and a trauma stabilization center in Al-Houban neighborhood. Services include emergency room, maternity, pediatric care and nutrition programs.

The situation in Taiz exemplifies in many ways the main humanitarian concerns for Yemen as a whole, and MSF is one of few actors witnessing this situation. Highlighting the situation in Taiz is therefore both a witnessing imperative and a strategic choice.