Measles Deaths Double in Seven Months in Yemen, Says UN

Yemen has witnessed a surge of measles cases in the past seven months. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Yemen has witnessed a surge of measles cases in the past seven months. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Measles Deaths Double in Seven Months in Yemen, Says UN

Yemen has witnessed a surge of measles cases in the past seven months. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Yemen has witnessed a surge of measles cases in the past seven months. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Yemen has witnessed a surge of measles cases in the past seven months, leading to more than 400 deaths and roughly 34,000 infections, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO is concerned over increasing cases of measles and rubella among children in Yemen.

Since the beginning of the year and until the end of July, the number of suspected cases of measles and rubella in Yemen has reached almost 34,300 and 413 deaths, compared to 27,000 cases and 220 associated deaths in 2022.

The WHO is working with the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPHP) and partners to increase support for routine vaccination interventions.

The WHO also continues to work within the National Health Framework to provide technical and financial support to improve coverage among children.

A measles-rubella vaccination campaign, targeting 1.2 million children under the age of five, is scheduled to be implemented in September.

In 2022, the WHO supported the protection of around 913,000 children from measles and rubella.

As of July, the MoPHP, with the support of the WHO and other partners, reached a coverage rate of around 65 percent of all children for both shots of measles and rubella (MR1 and MR2).

"Ideally, the outbreak response vaccination campaign should target at least all children under the age of ten to be comprehensive and effective; however, the current funding gap has eroded support and limited the target to children under five years of age," said Dr. Arturo Pesigan, WHO Representative in Yemen.

According to the WHO-UNICEF National Immunization Coverage Estimate for 2022, 27 percent of children under one year of age in Yemen are unvaccinated for measles and rubella and have not met the minimal set of vaccines for full protection.

Several fatal epidemic diseases have started spreading in Yemen since the coup by the Iran-backed Houthi militias against the legitimate government in 2015.

Yemen's Expanded Program on Immunization started in 1974 and aims to reduce the rates of maternal and neonatal tetanus, ensure full immunization of children under one year of age, and extend all new vaccines and preventative health interventions to children in all districts, reducing the number of deaths associated with vaccine-preventable diseases.

Various childhood disease vaccines have been introduced since then, and currently, immunization against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, pneumococcal, hepatitis B, diarrhea, pneumonia, and tuberculosis is available to every child.

Similarly, a surveillance system was established to report, investigate, and respond to any outbreak related to vaccine-preventable diseases in Yemen's Expanded Program on Immunization.

The WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage, direct and coordinate the world's responses to health emergencies, and connect nations, partners, and people to promote health, and keep the world safe.



Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
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Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)

The Middle East was reeling Sunday from deadly violence with Israel bombing Gaza, Lebanon and Yemen in quick succession in response to attacks from Iran-backed militant groups.
Despite Washington's top diplomat asserting a deal is near the "goal line" to end more than nine months of devastating war between Israel and Gaza rulers Hamas, the Israeli military said it intercepted a missile fired from Yemen, as it pressed on with its offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory, Agence France Presse reported.
Dozens have been killed since Saturday across the Gaza Strip, the civil defense agency said, including in strikes on homes in the central Nuseirat and Bureij areas and displaced people near southern Khan Yunis.
Residents said a major operation was underway in the district of Rafah in the south, reporting heavy artillery and clashes.
The deadly strikes in Gaza came hours after Hezbollah and its ally Hamas said they fired at Israeli positions from south Lebanon, while Yemen's Houthi group vowed to respond to Israeli warplanes hitting a key port.
The fire left raging by the strikes on Hodeida port "is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
Detailing the first strikes claimed by Israel in Yemen, Gallant warned of further operations if the Houthis "dare to attack us" after a Houthi drone strike killed one in Tel Aviv on Friday.
In Hodeida three people were killed and 87 wounded, health officials said in a statement carried by Houthi media.
Netanyahu travels to Washington
The trio of militant groups has vowed to keep up attacks on Israel until a truce ends the violence in Gaza, which lies in ruins, with most residents forced to flee their homes.
The Gaza war was triggered by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom are still in Gaza, including 42 the Israeli military says are dead.
Israel's military retaliation to wipe out Hamas has killed at least 38,919 people, also mostly civilians, according to data from the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
The war has also unleashed hunger and health crises in Gaza, with Israel and the United Nations trading blame for vital aid supplies failing to reach those in need.
After the detection of poliovirus in Gaza sewage, though no individual cases, the World Health Organization said there were "monumental" constraints to mounting a timely response.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said Friday the agency believes many more diseases are "spreading out of control" inside Gaza.
The premier is due to address US lawmakers Wednesday in Washington, where he will be under pressure to reach a ceasefire with Hamas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday a truce was within reach.
"I believe we're... driving toward the goal line in getting an agreement that would produce a ceasefire, get the hostages home, and put us on a better track to trying to build lasting peace and stability," he said.