Many kidney dialysis patients facing death in Yemen

The International Red Cross has warned that thousands of Yemeni patients suffering from kidney failure risk dying unless dialysis centers across the war-ravaged country receive adequate supplies and their employees are paid.

Kidney dialysis patient

“An astonishing 25 percent of dialysis patients in Yemen have died every year since conflict began in 2015,” the International Committee for the Red Cross said on Tuesday.


“More dialysis supplies, functioning dialysis machines, and funding for staff salaries are urgently needed to ensure the mortality rate does not rise further for Yemen’s 4,400 renal failure patients,” the ICRC added.

“Without dialysis treatment, the outcome is fatal,” the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen, Alexandre Faite, pointed out.

In a press release sent to IRNA on Tuesday, the ICRC said that the conflict in Yemen has ravaged the country’s infrastructure, leading to catastrophes such as the recent cholera crisis. But the damage to the nation’s health care sector is so vast that individuals with chronic diseases can’t access life-saving treatment.

An astonishing 25 percent of dialysis patients in Yemen have died every year since war began in 2015.

The Red Cross noted that since the Saudi-led war on Yemen started in 2015, four dialysis centers have been shut down in the country and the remaining 28 facilities struggle to render services with broken machines, a lack of necessary supplies and unpaid staff.

Meanwhile, many patients have cut back their weekly dialysis sessions two instead of the recommended three.

Travel to dialysis centers is frequently an odyssey of checkpoints and insecurity. Anis Saleh Abdallah, 42, must travel 250 kilometers from his home in Lahj to attend twice-weekly sessions at the ICRC-supported dialysis center in Aden’s Al Joumhouria Hospital.

“The trip is not only very costly but also long and agonizing. I am too weak for this,” said Mr. Abdallah, who has been forced to skip some treatments because the journey was too risky.

“Reducing the weekly dialysis sessions causes increased side-effects and a lower quality of life. Without dialysis treatment, the outcome is fatal,” said Mr. Faite. “It is critical that urgent support is provided to the Yemeni authorities to enable treatment in the remaining functioning dialysis centers and to address the desperate needs of renal failure patients.”

Of the 32 dialysis centers Yemen had before the war, four have closed; the other 28 are struggling to provide services, with broken machines, a lack of essential supplies and unpaid staff. Patients normally require three, four-hour sessions per week. In Yemen the fragile situation has forced patients to cut back to two sessions.

According to the World Health Organization’s latest count, the cholera outbreak caused by the Saudi-led war has killed 2,167 people since the end of April 2017 and is suspected to have infected more than one million people.

The UN has described the situation in Yemen as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”