MOAS in Yemen: famine relief and medical aid

Yemen is now in its fourth year of conflict and facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. As the war continues and access to aid is restricted, it is vital that efforts to provide assistance are sustained in spite of ongoing unrest. This month, MOAS has launched a new mission to bring pharmaceutical aid and famine relief to the world’s poorest Arab nation.

At the time of writing, one 40-foot container filled with famine relief in the form of nutritional supplements and one 20-foot container filled with pharmaceuticals and medical equipment are en route to the Yemeni port of Aden. Upon arrival, this aid will be distributed to established primary healthcare providers through the health cluster and nutrition pipeline with the support of ADRA, MOAS’ partner in Yemen. ADRA is an international humanitarian organisation which has been working in Yemen since 1995 and is currently active in eight governorates.

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Fighting the famine

Around 15.9 million people – over half of Yemen’s population – are facing food insecurity. In the last three years, an estimated 85,000 children under the age of five have died from acute malnutrition. The famine relief supplies sent by MOAS are therefore critical. 

Our supplies have been provided by Edesia, a US-based nutrition company which manufactures specialised ready-to-use foods. We are delighted to be collaborating on this mission, and excited to announce that Edesia has already shipped 27 tonnes of calorie-dense sachets specifically formulated for paediatric malnutrition refeeding programs. These supplies have been generously sponsored by two major donors: long-time MOAS supporters Ed and Barbara Shapiro, and the Ruth and Hal Launders Charitable Trust. 

The ready-to-use sachets which have been dispatched are Nutriset’s Plumpy Doz packs. Plumpy Doz is a preventative, liquid-based nutrient supplement for children six months or older who are at risk of developing acute malnutrition, and can be used alongside ordinary foods. Each 50g Plumpy Doz sachet provides the essential nutrients required to prevent malnutrition in children whose diets are not meeting their calorie and protein needs.

These sachets are extremely effective in supporting normal growth and healthy development in children, as well as saving vulnerable lives. Our Plumpy Doz supplies will allow parents to support their children’s rehabilitation at home, rather than in hospitals and clinics which are increasingly difficult to access. With two million children under the age of five acutely malnourished in Yemen, we expect this delivery to have an immediate and life-saving impact.

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Providing vital medical aid

Our clinical and pharmaceutical supplies have been provided by Action Medeor, a German medical aid organisation. Medicines have been selected from the 20th WHO Essential Medication List and the 6th WHO Essential Medicines List for Children, and prioritised based on safety, cost-effectiveness and current and potential need on the ground. In addition to medication, our shipment includes vital clinical equipment for the purposes of diagnosis, drug administration, wound dressing and resuscitation. In total, this shipment will deliver life-saving medication and equipment worth €126,687, including a generous donation from Action Medeor itself.

Around €72,000 worth of medication and equipment will help to combat maternal mortality; recent UN figures suggest that Yemen now holds one of the region’s highest maternal mortality rates, at 385 deaths per 100,000 live births. A further €10,000 worth of iron and vitamin supplements will help meet the needs of some 7 million Yemenis suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia as a result of malnutrition – roughly 86% of children under five and 71% of pregnant or lactating women.

Our shipment also includes €10,000 worth of cholera intervention treatments, such as oral rehydration salts, anti-diarrheal medication and intravenous fluids. These supplies are crucial at present, as Yemen is experiencing its worst cholera outbreak on record. Since late 2016, more than 1.3 million suspected cholera cases and nearly 2,800 associated deaths have been reported in 306 districts, and up to 350,000 suspected cholera cases are anticipated in 2019. Meanwhile, at least one child dies of preventable causes every ten minutes, which is why our shipment includes €16,500 worth of antibiotics, antifungals and anthelmintic medications to help combat opportunistic parasitic and bacterial infections.

Finally, our shipment will also deliver €65,000 worth of life-saving medical equipment such as stethoscopes and thermometers for diagnoses, needles and syringes for drug administration, bandages for wound dressings, and oxygen masks and suction pumps for resuscitation.

Our impact

With this mission, MOAS will reach thousands of people in dire need of famine relief and medical assistance. Our shipments will help to alleviate some of the daily struggles faced by Yemenis as a result of the ongoing conflict. We are hopeful that the impact of these shipments will be rapid and far-reaching, and we are proud to support the work of our partner ADRA in Yemen.

 

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