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Kidney patients struggle as Yemeni health crisis worsens

Kidney patients struggle as Yemeni health crisis worsens

After 37 months of conflict in Yemen, the country remains in the grip of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with more than 20 million people in need of assistance and 16 million lacking access to health services.

The situation in Yemen

The situation in Yemen has been described as extremely serious by the World Health Organization as the conflict shows no signs of ending. The worst cholera outbreak in history coupled with a health sector on the verge of destruction has left Yemen in a state of emergency.

The cholera crisis was aggravated by many of the usual issues that plague both outbreak and humanitarian responses. From a public health point of view, cholera should not be a difficult disease to prevent or control in a more developed country. More could have been done to prevent the outbreak escalating. However, with less than half the country’s health facilities functioning; health and sanitation workers going unpaid for months; the availability of clean water is minimal; and the conflict restricting access for aid workers. It is not hard to understand how the situation has got so bad and how the numbers rose from 124,000 to over 1 million cases in less than 6 months.

We done our upmost to provide emergency aid to those suffering with cholera in Yemen and our generous donors helped us raise a substantial amount to help cholera patients.

Although recent data suggests the number of new weekly cholera cases are steadying, there are new issues on the horizon. Thousands of Yemenis with kidney failure are now at risk of death unless the country’s remaining dialysis centres receive more supplies and the staff are paid.

What is Kidney Dialysis?

The role of our kidneys is to filter the blood, removing harmful waste products and excess fluid and turning these into urine to be passed out the body. If our kidneys are not working properly, for example kidney failure, the kidneys may not be able to clean the blood properly. Waste products and fluid can build up to dangerous levels in your body. If left untreated, this can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms and eventually be fatal.

Dialysis filters out any of the unwanted substances and fluids from the blood before this happens. Hemodialysis is a process of purifying the blood with two thin needles being inserted into the AV fistula or graft and taped into place. One needle will slowly remove blood and transfer to a machine called a dialyser or dialysis machine.

The dialysis machine is made up of a series of membranes that act as filters and a special liquid called dialysate.

The membranes filter waste products from your blood, which are passed into the dialysate fluid. The used dialysate fluid is pumped out of the dialyser and the filtered blood is passed back into your body through the second needle. During dialysis sessions, you will sit or lie down on a bed and wait for the process to finish.

Kidney failure in Yemen

Kidney failure remains a serious cause of death in Yemen. The lives of thousands of patients are in danger as they struggle to get the kidney treatment that is required.

Before the war broke out, there were 32 full functioning dialysis centres in Yemen. Four of these centres have now closed and the other 28 and severely struggling to provide services. This is due to broken machines, a lack of essential supplies and unpaid staff. Patients normally require three, four-hour sessions per week, but the fragile situation in Yemen has forced patients to cut back to two sessions.

Most patients with kidney failure generally don’t have the physical strength or money to travel for treatment. Even if they manage to reach a centre that is still functioning, they may not be able to even afford the treatment.

A shocking 25 percent of dialysis patients in Yemen have died every year since the conflict began in 2015. More dialysis supplies, functioning dialysis machines, and funding for staff salaries are urgently needed to ensure the death rate does not rise further for Yemen’s 4,400 kidney failure patients.

How you can help

Please donate today and help SABA Relief make a real impact on the lives of those suffering from kidney failure. Your donation could be pivotal to providing the essential equipment to give the best care possible.

Thousands of Yemenis with kidney failure are at risk of dying unless the country’s remaining dialysis centers receive more supplies.


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