Hospitals or graveyardsIs there a difference! [Archives:2005/871/Health]

August 25 2005

Hakim Almasmari
Yemen Times Staff
[email protected]

One of the tragic issues spreading throughout our society, and many fear is an ongoing crisis cloaked in mystery, is the unbearable situation of our medical institutions. Climate of fear settles when speaking about hospitals in Yemen.

Many people risk staying at home and not getting medical attention due to their realization that it's just worthless and unhelpful. In some situations, it causes more damage than good.

Services are limited, and even with the limitation of services, hospital premises are dirty and more like old dingy apartments with many rooms. Appliances are old and shabby and nothing like they are supposed to be. Yemen is doing so badly in the health sector; it ranked 133 of 162 countries in the United Nations Human Development Report, only surpassing countries like Somalia and Djibouti.

No Arab nation is going through the difficulties in the field of medicine that we, in Yemen, are going through. People die daily due to wrong procedures taken at hospitals as well as inhuman acts by some doctors and nurses. The prognosis of the dilemma that we are going through does not look bright for uncountable reasons.

Dr. Adnan Al-Amdi, a Yemeni doctor working abroad said, “Hospitals in Yemen are much unorganized, moral clarity is not seen.” Dr. Al-Amdi is a U.S graduate in the field of medicine, whom is currently residing in the United States. He continued, “It's really a great danger, and it's going to need unusual solutions.”

A major reason behind this catastrophe is that many Yemeni professionals, including doctors, have left Yemen because of their low income. For instance, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there are 65 high- profile Yemeni doctors working for some of the biggest hospitals. To see such a high number of professionals leaving their country to seek a future abroad is very sad. What makes the situation even worse is that many of the doctors who left for neighboring countries were handpicked and given special invitations to work there. This happened because they understood the value of these skilled people. Why did I choose this Arab country as an example? The reason is, if such a small country as UAE has so many Yemeni doctors, I couldn't imagine how many Yemeni professionals would be spread throughout bigger countries around the world.

The crisis of Professional doctors leaving Yemen has an even more dangerous side to it. It gives beginners or just graduated doctors a better chance in wrecking the lives of more patients, leaving them to bear the disaster of the outcome.

“They cut a part of my gums out for no reason,” said Ali, a Yemeni citizen living in the United States who came for a visit. “I will not stay quiet, I will take them to court, and I want justice. They don't fear god, no mercy what so ever. We're humans for gods sake not roaches.”

Fear of being taken to court is not even a factor for many local doctors. Pointing fingers at the responsible side for this catastrophe is not a hard task, even for a child. All this, is the outcome of many wrong judgments, which are continuously taken by hospitals. It is also the byproduct of the corruption our government is allowing to pass silently. Governments are supposed to keep all harm away from their people, act as guardians and a protecting shield for their citizens.

Look at government officials or diplomats; you don't hear a high-ranking official receiving medical treatment in Al-Thoura or Al-Jimhouri Hospitals? For the slightest headache or pain, they feel obligated to travel to Germany or any western country. They understand that it's a bad decision to even think of being treated in their beloved country whose uncountable achievements and accomplishments they themselves always praise. Many of us have terrifying stories that family members or friends have gone through at Yemeni hospitals.

Zabya Abdullah had slight pain in her left eye. She thought coming to Sana'a and receiving medical attention was her only option. When reaching Sana'a, she did not waste any time and went to the doctor for an eye examination. Ten minutes later, the doctor approached her, and with full confidence said, “There is a need to remove your left eye or you will risk loosing both eyes due to the strong virus erupting inside of you”. Shocked and angry was my aunt as she walked out of the hospital and returned back to the village. Two month's later, she was fine and with no pain, and more important, no eye taken away.

It is very sad to see the current government working so hard to create leading figures for this society in different fields of learning, by granting scholarships and many other benefits, but on the other hand, can't do enough to keep them to serve their own people.

Solution needs be implemented immediately if the future of this country is of any concern. Strict procedures must come into practice to secure the health or even the life of poor citizens.

Authorities are trying to uproot the tragedy in some way or another. 52 medical faculties in private universities have been closed down due to their failing to meet the minimum education criteria. When Deputy Minister of Higher Education Ali Qasem was asked for the purpose of the closures he said “the main problem for these universities is that they hire unqualified teaching staffs.

Will things change to the better in the future? Well, we'll just have to wait and see.