Health Status of People in Yemen [Archives:2001/39/Health]

September 24 2001

The health status of people in Yemen is generally poor. With the exception of higher income groups in major urban areas, the population still suffers from high morbidity and mortality rates. Although accurate data on specific disease prevalence are not available, limited surveys suggests that the country has only entered the first state of epidemiological transition. At this stage, mothers and small children are especially at risk while older children and the adult population suffer form a variety of infectious diseases that impair their well-being and undermine labor productivity.
Present information indicates a maternal mortality rate of about 9 to 14 per 1,000 live births, an infant mortality rate of 80, and an under 5 mortality of 130 per 1,000 live births. These rates would be similar to those in many other LDCs, with maternal mortality higher than the average in LDCs, and infant and under 5 mortality somewhat lower.
Maternal mortality in Yemen is one of the highest in the world. With an average fertility rate 6 live births per woman, the cumulative risk of mothers dying during childbirth is 5 to 11 percent. Leading causes are complications during pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium as well as anemia malnutrition, tetanus infection and other endemic diseases (e.g. malaria). Still birth rates which are indicative of the health of mothers, are also high. Moreover, pregnancies are frequently followed by maternal morbidity caused mainly by vaginal fistula, ruptured uterus from neglected obstructed labor, and pelvic inflammatory diseases. Other causes are child bearing at a young age, short birth intervals, poor pre- and post-natal care, and unhygienic environment during delivery.