SANA’A– Nearly half a million of the most vulnerable women and girls in Yemen will receive emergency relief, life-saving reproductive health and mental health services thanks to a EUR 6 million humanitarian contribution from the European Union (EU)
The funds will allow UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund to continue providing critical services at a time when its humanitarian response is challenged by limited funds and the rapid spread of COVID-19.
The health system remains in tatters. Nearly half of all health facilities have been forced to close, or are only partially functioning. COVID-19 has aggravated the situation, with roughly 15 per cent of the functioning health system re-purposed to respond to the pandemic.
Only 20 per cent of functioning health facilities provides maternal and child health services due to lack of essential medicines, supplies and specialized staff. One in five people suffer from mental disorders, while mental health services remains severely scarce. Some 4 million people have been displaced since the escalation of the conflict, more than 32,000 of them since the beginning of the year.
European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “Six years of war have brought the country and health system to their knees. Two-thirds of the population – some 20 million Yemenis – needs humanitarian aid and health assistance. Only an end to the conflict can stop this suffering and downward spiral. Meanwhile, the EU is determined to ensure girls, women and displaced people can find help amid the chaos.”
The new funding will support UNFPA to provide emergency obstetric and maternal health care in 30 hospitals; mental health services in two specialized psychological care centres, and facilitate coordination and enrolment for emergency assistance through the UNFPA-led Rapid Response Mechanism when fighting leads to new displacement.
The European Union has been a major contributor to UNFPA’s humanitarian response in Yemen, providing more than EUR 24 million since 2018. In 2020 alone, more than a million women and girls were reached with life-saving services with funding support from the European Union.
“I recently visited Yemen, where I met women whose lives had been transformed by access to reproductive health and protection services. I also saw first-hand the tragic hardship and suffering when communities lack these services,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “Thanks to the European Union’s generous contribution, UNFPA will be able to extend this life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of women and girls.”
UNFPA is the sole provider of essential lifesaving reproductive health medicines in Yemen and leads coordination and provision of women’s reproductive health and protection services across the country. To keep reaching the most vulnerable women and girls, UNFPA requires US$100 million in 2021. To date, only 30 per cent of this funding appeal has been received.(Source: UNFPA.ORG)