The deterioration of health facilities in Yemen remains deeply concerning. Only 22% of health facilities – half of which are either closed or not fully functional – can treat communicable diseases, such as cholera and diphtheria. The ability of health services to treat these diseases is further complicated by the on-going conflict, access obstructions, and the non-payment of salaries to public sector workers.
UK aid of £170 million to Yemen this financial year (2018/19) includes support to the UN and NGOs for tackling the underlying causes of cholera by providing emergency food, nutrition support, and clean water and sanitation to millions of people in Yemen.
DFID continues to monitor the rate of new cholera and diphtheria cases, as well as the health response in Yemen. In total, 1,097,962 suspected cholera cases have been reported between 27 April 2017 and 13 May 2018, causing 2,286 deaths. Between 13 August 2017 and 5 May 2018, 1,703 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported, causing 90 deaths.
The UK also supported the first ever phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen which was completed on 15 May in the south of the country, helping protect more than 450,000 men, women and children. In her statement on 15 May, the International Development Secretary urged all parties to the conflict to allow the next phase of the vaccination campaign to proceed and to enable full and unhindered access including in the north of the country.