Sanaa: In the midst on the ongoing civil war in Yemen, about 11,350 children have not been vaccinated for more than three years against preventable diseases in the besieged districts of Hajjah province, according to local health authorities.
Tariq Miswak Hibah, director of the health office in Hayran district, told Xinhua news agency on Monday that “around 2,450 children younger than one year old and 8,900 children under the age of five in the government-held northern districts have not received any type of vaccine, including the polio jab, for over three years”.
“Many pregnant mothers are also at risk for not receiving health care due to the lack of medicine and vaccination teams,” he said.
“I appeal to the international humanitarian organisations working in Yemen to coordinate with the Ministry of Health for urgent delivery of these vaccines to these embattled districts,” Hibah stressed.
In addition to Hayran, the government also controls the neighbouring Red Sea districts of Midi, Haradh and Abs, which all are located in the northern part of Hajjah province.
According to the health office in Hayran, an average of 300 patients visit health centres on a daily basis in these areas, mostly children and women.
“Polio vaccination is among the most needed for children in these areas, as well as the vaccinations against diphtheria, measles, hepatitis B, whooping cough, and rubella,” an official from the Hayran health office told Xinhua.
He said that the lack of those vaccinations could lead to serious illness or permanent disability.
Another official from the same health office said that the main reasons for the spread of diseases in these areas are water pollution and malnutrition.
The Unicef estimated in its June report that a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from vaccine-preventable diseases.
According to the report, Unicef and the World Health Organization in May vaccinated a total of 3,791,511 children under the age of five in 14 provinces in three days, covering 89 per cent of the total immunization target.