Health

UN agencies send COVID-19 aid to Yemen

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

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A Yemeni sanitation worker, wearing protective gear, sprays disinfectant in a neighbourhood in Hajjah province on May 31st during the coronavirus crisis. [Essa Ahmed/AFP]

UN agencies continue to send medical aid via Yemen's airports to help the country's health sector tackle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A UNICEF plane carrying 16 tonnes of medicine and protective gear arrived at Aden airport on Saturday (June 6th).

Separately, the Ministry of Public Health and Population's National Medical Supply Programme in Seiyun on Friday received the third batch of COVID-19 aid from King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief).

There is a continuing need for the UN and donor countries to support Yemen's health sector as it battles COVID-19, said Eshraq al-Sebai, spokeswoman for Yemen's supreme emergency committee for combatting coronavirus.

Sub-committees in some provinces have run out of PCR test tubes, she told Al-Mashareq.

"Quarantine and treatment centres in al-Mukalla and Seiyun on June 4th said they have had no PCR tubes for four consecutive days," she said, which has "affected their ability to do their duty towards the patients and suspected cases".

The latest shipments "include medical supplies, ventilators and protection and safety gear for doctors", she added.

According to the committee, there were 484 coronavirus cases in government-controlled provinces as of Sunday, and 112 deaths.

Al-Sebai urged the UN to continue to support Yemen's health sector, which has almost collapsed and needs intensified national and international efforts to help it confront the coronavirus pandemic.

A virtual donor conference for Yemen -- hosted by Saudi Arabia, in co-operation with the UN -- last week raised approximately $1.35 billion in pledges, out of a total of $2.4 billion targeted by the UN.

Of this amount, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said, $180 million is needed to combat the fast-spreading virus.

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