Health Minister: 107 health institutions shut down over violations [Archives:2005/876/Local News]

September 12 2005

By Taiz Bureau
TAIZ- Sept.8- Around 107 health and medical institutions including hospitals and clinics have been closed after committing public health violations, said Dr. Mohamed Yahya al-Numi, Minister of Public Health and Population.

Over the last few weeks, criticisms against the Ministry of Public Health and Population have escalated as communicable disease policy has failed to confront increasing rates of polio and dengue fever.

Yemen's Minister of Health explained that his ministry has established a number of national strategies in cooperation with foreign donors to limit the spread of infectious diseases among children. This year, the ministry carried out four child polio vaccination rounds within the framework of the national campaign for uprooting the epidemic. The campaign was implemented by the Ministry of Health and Population in collaboration with the World Health Organization and a number of donors.

With regard to the return of child polio to Yemen, al-Numi confirmed the disease was exterminated a few months ago, attributed its return to its proliferation in the Horn of Africa and signaled out that his ministry is making arrangements for the fifth vaccination round by the end of the current year and a sixth round may be conducted if the situation necessitates.

Asked about the proliferation of infectious diseases, Dr. al-Numi replied: “there is no dangerous infectious diseases except for the dengue fever of which only limited number of cases were registered in the governorates of Hodeida and Shabwa.

Officials at the Ministry of Health and Population said the ministry possesses a system for monitoring different communicable diseases and that the ministry has recently formed a field team to detect the spread of any infectious diseases.

Part of the intractability of the problem originates in Yemens geography. The nations proximity to Africa means that it is on the front line of new epidemics and strains originating from the continent, making comprehensive vaccination impossible. This is further exacerbated by Yemen's porous borders which receive an unknown number of refugees each year. Yemen is party to UN resolutions on the rights of refugees and therefore cannot bar them entry.

It is impossible to conduct medical check-ups for any person visiting Yemen and that there are vaccination teams at inlets to immunize children against polio. Foreign visitors found infected with communicable diseases should be taken to hospitals to undergo medical tests without any harassment, al-Numi added.