Conflict and a shattered health system

Indiscriminate bombings and chronic shortages of supplies and staff have led to the closure of more than half of Yemen's health facilities. Recent outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and diphtheria and an upsurge in fighting have exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.

More than three million people have been displaced since the war started more than three years ago.

MSF activities in Yemen

With an estimated 20 million in need of humanitarian assistance, our activities in Yemen are among our most extensive worldwide. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has scaled up its work in Yemen since the conflict escalated in 2015. Today, MSF runs 12 hospitals and health centres across the country and provides support to more than 20 hospitals or health facilities across 11 governorates: Abyan, Aden, Amran, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Ibb, Lahj, Saada, Sana’a, Shabwah and Taiz.

From March 2015 to December 2018, MSF teams performed 81,102 surgical interventions in the country, provided treatment to 119,113 patients with injuries related to war and violence, delivered 68,702 newborn babies, and cared for more than 116,687 patients with suspected cholera. As of 2019, MSF has 2,200 international and locally-hired staff in Yemen and provides incentive payments to 700 Ministry of Health staff across the country.

Complicated delivery: The mothers and children dying without medical care in Yemen — An MSF special report

Many expectant mothers experiencing complications in childbirth and parents of sick children are unable to reach medical care in Yemen in a safe and timely manner, often with deadly consequences, a report by international medical organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has found.

MSF’s new report, Complicated delivery: The Yemeni mothers and children dying without medical care, outlines the impact of the war on pregnant women, new mothers and children under 15 – who are some of the most neglected and vulnerable people in Yemen – as observed by MSF medical teams working in Taiz and Hajjah governorates.

Four years into the conflict, the warring parties in Yemen and their international backers have brought about the effective collapse of the country’s public health system, which cannot meet the needs of Yemen’s 28 million people.

Between 2016 and 2018, 36 mothers and 1,529 children died – 1,018 of whom were new-borns – in MSF’s Taiz Houban hospital, in Taiz governorate, and the MSF-supported Abs hospital, in Hajjah governorate. Of the deaths in Taiz Houban, almost one-third were children and new-borns who were dead on arrival. Many newborns brought to MSF for care had a low birthweight or were born prematurely, at home or in small private clinics. The most common causes of deaths in neonates were prematurity, birth asphyxia and severe infection (sepsis).

Read the full MSF report: Complicated delivery: The Yemeni mothers and children dying without medical care

Timeline of the Conflict

This timeline was created in order to present the key events since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, as well as the development of MSF efforts to improve access to health care for the population. As the health care system collapses to a critical state, MSF is continuing to expand its activities.

MSF activities in Yemen

MSF works in 13 hospitals and health centers in Yemen and provides support to more than 20 hospitals or health centres across 11 Yemeni governorates: Taiz, Aden, Al-Dhale’, Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb, Sana’a, Abyan, Shabwa and Lahj; with approximately 1,827 National staff and 93 International staff , making it among MSF´s largest missions in the world in terms of personnel.  For more details about the activities please check the online map.

Learn more about MSF's activities in Yemen