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In Yemen, the blood bank threatened with imminent closure

Ⓒ AFP – Mohammed HUWAIS – | A blood transfusion center in Sanaa, August 7,
2017

The blood bank in Yemen, collateral victim of the war that
has ravaged the country for more than two years, this week
launched a vibrant appeal for help, saying it could close soon
leaving thousands of patients in distress.

“We urge all humanitarian organizations in the international
community and all donors to support the center, while our
medical supplies are running short,” said the director of the
National Center for Blood Transfusion and Research in Sana’a,
Adnan Al -Hakimi.

“We are only able to work a week longer. After that, if
humanitarian organizations do not mobilize to help the center,
it will close,” he warned on Monday.

The Yemeni blood bank says it treats some 3,000 people a
month, suffering from cancer, kidney failure or thalassemia, a
genetic disease that results in a reduction in the size of red
blood cells and causes severe anemia.

Ⓒ AFP – Mohammed HUWAIS – | A nurse at the bedside of a blood donor, 7 August 2017
in Sana’a

Less than half of the country ‘s hospitals operate in a poor
country of 27 million people, ravaged by the conflict between
Shiite rebels Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa, and
government forces, backed by an Arab – Saudi Arabia.

The humanitarian crisis that is worsening over the months
has placed the country on the brink of starvation, according to
the UN.

Since the Arab coalition’s intervention in March 2015, more
than 8,300 people have been killed, mostly civilians, and over
47,700 injured, according to the World Health Organization
(WHO).

– Blood donation –

Amina Ali, whose young son needs blood transfusions,
regularly travels to the blood bank.

“I ordered blood and platelets every ten days,” she told
AFP.

“What will happen if the center closes? The health of many
children whose son will degrade,” she warns.

Ⓒ AFP – Mohammed HUWAIS – | A blood transfusion center in Sanaa, August 7,
2017

According to Hakimi, the NGO Médecins sans frontières (MSF)
has “suddenly stopped” in June to supply the blood bank with
medical supplies, having supported the center since 2015.

In a statement sent to AFP, MSF confirmed to have helped the
blood bank for two years.

“While health needs are increasing in Yemen, MSF has chosen
to focus its support on other health priorities,” the NGO
said.

“MSF agreed with WHO to take over in June. MSF’s latest
donation to the blood bank was made in June 2017. It was
supposed to allow the operation of its activities for two
months , The time WHO begins its support, “she added.

Like MSF, the UN said it had been obliged to reorganize the
allocation of its financial resources, notably by reducing
support for food aid programs, to focus more on the cholera
epidemic which has already done nearly 2,000 Deaths in less
than four months.

The United Nations said less than half of the $ 2.1 billion
(1.9 billion euros) promised this year by the international
community in Yemen has been paid.

Despite the difficulties, Yemenis continue to want to
support the blood bank and the patients it treats.

“I am here to give my blood out of
charity and for my country,” says Abdallah Farei.

“We ask God to ensure that citizens respond to the call of
the blood bank,” he hopes.

burs-str-ny / sea / nbz

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