Complicated Delivery: The Yemeni mothers and children dying without medical care

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After four years of conflict, the medical and humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate due to violent clashes, continuous airstrikes, political interference in aid operations by warring parties, and an economic maelstrom in what was already the poorest country in the Middle East.
MSF’s new report, Complicated delivery: The Yemeni mothers and children dying without medical care, outlines the impact of the war on pregnant women, new mothers and children under 15 – who are some of the most neglected and vulnerable people in Yemen – as observed by MSF medical teams working in Taiz and Hajjah governorates.
This report takes a look at two facilities where MSF is providing free healthcare – the MSF-run Taiz Houban mother and child hospital and the MSF-supported hospital in Abs – and offers an insight into some of the challenges facing mothers and children in Yemen.
Key points:
  • Between 2016 and 2018, there were 860 deaths of reported in Taiz Houban – 17 mothers, 242 children and 601 newborns. Of these deaths, almost one-third (227) were children and newborns who were dead on arrival.
  • The number of children and newborns who were dead on arrival at Taiz Houban increased from 52 in 2016, to 72 in 2017, to 103 in 2018.
  • The desperate need for medical care of the children arriving at Taiz Houban is further exemplified by the 170 children and newborns who were alive on arriving at the facility but died within the following six hours. Children under one month old made up the majority of these deaths (71 percent).
  • Overall, newborn babies – under the age of one month old – accounted for 71 percent of child deaths in Taiz Houban (601/843). Many newborns brought to MSF for care have a low birthweight or were born prematurely, either at home or in small private clinics. The most common causes of deaths in neonates were prematurity, birth asphyxia and severe infections (sepsis).

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