Coronavirus: MSF ends emergency intervention in Aden as Covid-19 cases decline

A dedicated coronavirus centre was handed over to local authorities on Monday

Members of Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council staff a checkpoint while workers disinfect vehicles at the entrance of Mualla, a district of the southern province of Aden, on May 10, 2020. AFP
Members of Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council staff a checkpoint while workers disinfect vehicles at the entrance of Mualla, a district of the southern province of Aden, on May 10, 2020. AFP

With declining daily cases, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Yemen said it had handed over its Covid-19 treatment centre in Aden to local authorities it has trained to manage the pandemic.

“Having trained an excellent team of Yemeni medical and non-medical staff, MSF is confident that the continued Covid-19 treatment capacity that the city needs will be achieved by the Health Ministry,” the charity said in a statement.

The international medical organisation, which began managing the centre for the whole of southern Yemen in April, has treated hundreds of infected patients in Al Gamhuriah Hospital. The sick have been brought from across Aden and the surrounding southern provinces, including Al Dhalea, Lahj and Abyan.

“The disease was new and had no proven treatment, and the health system was weakened by years of conflict – so, clearly, the city’s hospitals would struggle to treat large numbers of severely sick patients,” MSF said in a statement.

War-ravaged Yemen, whose malnourished population has among the world’s lowest immunity levels to disease, is divided between the internationally recognised government in Aden and its foe, the Iran-aligned Houthi group, in the north.

From June to August 26, 194 patients at the centre were taken to Al Gamhuriah Hospital.

“Seventy of these patients were transferred to the intensive care unit department, 66 patients were discharged and 13 were referred to other hospitals for further non-Covid medical care,” MSF said.

Only two patients remain in intensive care and four are in the inpatient hospital ward for patients whose illness is less serious.

“The numbers of new Covid-19 cases have remained consistently low in Aden in August, and it makes sense for MSF to end its emergency intervention as per the agreement,” the statement said.

The organisation offered a short-term acute emergency response in the city and for patients referred from the surrounding area.

“MSF teams worked in active collaboration with the Health Ministry from April to offer a Covid-19 treatment response,” it said.

The charity will continue to provide assistance to the population in need in Yemen, it said.

In total, Yemen’s health ministry has recorded 1,958 cases of infection including 566 deaths since the outbreak began.

Updated: September 1, 2020 09:25 PM

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