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Houthi Corruption Limits Yemenis’ Ability to Cover Healthcare Expenses

Houthi Corruption Limits Yemenis’ Ability to Cover Healthcare Expenses

Friday, 14 February, 2020 - 13:00
Zeinab, 3, infected with cholera cries at a cholera treatment center at al-Sabeen hospital in Sanaa, Yemen March 28, 2019. (Reuters)

The family of Umm Mohammad, 55, could not take her to a private hospital after she fell ill with a life-threatening disease. She could do nothing but surrender to her conditions and lie in a sickbed in her house despite the severity of her illness.

Umm Mohammad and her family are not a unique case. Their experience sums up that of tens of thousands of other sick Yeminis and their families who are trapped in areas under control of the Houthi militias. These issues were highlighted after problems, stemming from the widespread use of “collateral” by a large number of patients who cannot pay for their stays, faced by many private hospitals in Sanaa and other Yemeni cities, came to the fold.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, medical sources said that tens of thousands of “collaterals” have been by patients in Sanaa and other areas under the militias’ control, an indication of residents’ extremely poor living conditions since the Houthi coup five years ago. Patients’ difficulties with paying their bills were confirmed by health officials and who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat. They said that thousands of patients rushed to hospitals in need of urgent care, but cannot pay its cost.

In the same context, private hospital officials indicate that their hospitals cannot continue to accept all collateral, since most of them are given by poor families, and it would cost their health facilities dearly. This is especially difficult in light of the Houthis’ systemic targeting and looting of these hospitals.

According to local reports, due to the war the Houthis launched, most of the residents in the areas under militia control are in need of humanitarian assistance and millions are on the verge of famine, making it one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters according to the United Nations.

The Iran-backed militias, alongside waging their absurd war, have directly targeted vital sectors, including the health sector, which has an adverse affect on citizens’ health and wellbeing. The Houthi violations include confiscating equipment, looting, stealing and blackmailing and other practices.

These practices have led to a total collapse of the Yemini health sector and a major decline in the quality of private and public hospitals services. It has also led to the spread of diseases and epidemics, leading to the prevalence of cholera, diphtheria, dengue, swine flu, and other epidemics and other deadly diseases.

Since their 2014 coup, the Houthi militias have been pursuing a policy of comprehensive destruction of the health sector in areas under their control. They suspended salaries and payments of expenses necessary for the health sector to function. They have prevented citizens from receiving the medical treatment they need to protect themselves from catching deadly diseases and epidemics, leading to the loss of thousands of lives.

The most recent of these policies, certainly not the last of them, was the appropriation of six of the largest private hospitals in the capital Sanaa: Mother Hospital, Al-Ahli Hospital, University of Science and Technology Hospital, Modern German Hospital, C-Plus Hospital and Moroccan hospital. They confiscated their funds and property and appointed a so-called judicial guard to oversee it.

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