In Hajjah governorate, one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of Yemen, we opened a Surgical Centre for War Victims to provide important healthcare in a country that had been torn apart by war since 2014.
In northern Yemen, EMERGENCY renovated and fitted out a disused building, formerly governorate offices, to create a Surgical Centre for War Victims. As the preparation went on, our international team trained local colleagues with a view to them taking the running of the hospital into their own hands.
Work began at the centre in March 2022. Unfortunately, official collaboration was not forthcoming and in June we were forced to hand the facility over to local authorities.
As other medical facilities and sufficiently trained staff were thin on the ground in the region, we had set ourselves the aim of running the centre ourselves. But there are major obstacles to humanitarian aid in Yemen; bureaucratic tangles over visas meant we simply could not count on having an international team present. It would have been impossible for us at EMERGENCY to carry out proper assessment of patient outcomes and thereby ensure the quality of our treatment.
So, once we had renovated the hospital to international standards, chosen and trained our staff, and overseen the beginning of work in coordination with local medical authorities, we ended our involvement in Hajjah and handed the hospital’s management over to those authorities.
Until we can count on full collaboration from the authorities and we are certain that we can provide medical treatment with proper respect for humanitarian principles, EMERGENCY cannot go on with this new project.
Our work on the building consisted of restoring its walls and installing mechanical equipment, plumbing, electrics and a centralised distribution system of medical gases for the operating theatre, intensive care, and first aid. We also constructed new buildings for ancillary services, bought and installed hospital furniture, biomedical equipment, and medical material.
The hospital now boasts four operating theatres, a first aid ward, a diagnostics unit (with a laboratory for analysis and radiology), a post-treatment clinic, an observation ward for short-term intensive care, five beds for standard intensive care, 60 ward beds, a physiotherapy unit, a cast room, a pharmacy, offices and technical rooms. It also shares ancillary services – laundry and kitchen – with the nearby Al-Gomhori hospital.
Specific training and Recruitment of the Centre’s staff
The 150 local health workers who make up the team at the Surgical Centre have been trained by EMERGENCY staff to ensure the correct application of war surgery guidelines and protocols developed by EMERGENCY over more than 28 years of experience in the field.
Trauma courses for healthcare professionals in the country
In spring 2021, our team coordinated training sessions in Pre-hospital Trauma Care for 120 first aid medical workers from all over the country.
The objective of these sessions was to enhance and reinforce medical and nursing skills, particularly for Yemeni workers in high-risk areas.