Jibla Hospital – then and now [Archives:2006/961/Reportage]

July 3 2006

Nashwan Dammaj
Jibla Hospital formerly was run by foreigners, but the government took over its operation in 2002, resulting in deteriorating administration.

Spending more than 40 years at the hospital, the Baptist Association announced the end of its services and activities in Jibla city. As a missionary movement, the association established the hospital in the American style, in a way different from the performance of other public hospitals. During these years, the hospital was dedicated to caring for the elderly and orphans in both Ibb and Taiz governorates.

In 2002, Abdul-Razzak Kamil shot and killed physician Martha Myers, 57, hospital administrator William Koehn, 60, and business manager Kathleen Gariety, 53; while the Yemeni government took responsibility of the hospital. These two incidents (the three killings and government control of the hospital) initiated another phase: locals believed and still believe the hospital certainly will deteriorate, especially since it has become state-run.

Locals maintained that like other public hospitals, Jibla Hospital would last only six months or a year at best. For them, only good administration – whether foreign or local – can run the hospital. Four years have elapsed, during which the state-run hospital witnessed tension between it and Ibb governorate's Health Bureau (HB).

Hospital administration regarded the HB's decisions as a breach of the hospital's order. It insisted on not allowing the HB to interfere in its internal affairs, which meant rejecting the HB's decisions.


Disagreement between the hospital and the HB can be summarized in terms of money and staff workers.

Hospital revenues reached YR 67 million, 100 million and 140 million riyals in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively. Such revenues were spent in the hospital's interest, as evidenced in medical equipment, medicine, etc.; thus, allocating part of the revenues for the HB seemed illogical to hospital administration.

On the other hand, the HB sent health workers to work at the hospital, but hospital administration rejected them, justifying that the hospital had sufficient workers.

Such disagreements led to sensitivities between HB head Dr. Amin Al-Rabyei and Jibla Hospital head, Dr. Abdul-Karim Hasan. Many said both men were dissatisfied with each other. However, Hasan was dismissed four years later and replaced by Dr. Abdullah Al-Matari.

Many locals and hospital staffers weren't surprised at Hasan's dismissal, as they expected the situation would end that way. However, what seemed strange to them was that he was detained at political security detention for five days without anyone knowing about it.

Jibla locals believe Hasan wasn't dismissed due to poor performance, incompetence or failure. In fact, his stance against the HB's funding demands from the hospital and in support of the Baptist physicians working there helped them discover the enormity of a man's sticking to his stance in a country governed by intelligence apparatuses.


Two months ago, Hasan was invited to attend an urgent May 6 meeting at the governorate office, not expecting he would receive his ousting decision in an insulting manner. The meeting came three days after Japan's ambassador visited Jibla Hospital to offer in-kind assistance to it. Ibb's vice-governor also appreciated the hospital's services, so such events were testimonies to the advancement of the hospital's success.

However, during the meeting headed by Ibb governor Ali Al-Qaisi, Hasan was surprised by a handbill Jibla's religious scholars allegedly released against him. According to those attending the meeting, Al-Qaisi didn't name any particular religious scholar as he read it. The supposed handbill read, “The head of Jibla Hospital had relations with the Christians, who still exercise their missionary activities with his knowledge.” Therefore, the religious scholars supposedly requested his immediate dismissal from the hospital; otherwise, they threatened to kill him, as happened to the three foreigners Kamil killed. He was executed earlier this year as punishment for this crime. Jibla religious scholars denied issuing a handbill against Hasan.

The same sources (those attending the meeting) affirmed that Hasan had only two alternatives. He must be dismissed from the hospital, while the HB and governorate leadership would keep the matter secret without making the handbill public. The second alternative was for Hasan officially and immediately to dispense with the services of current Baptist Association physicians working at the hospital and return them to their countries.

In response, Hasan replied during the meeting that such a task (deporting the physicians) was for concerned authorities legally authorized to take such action against them. “I have no other alternative,” he added, meaning his dismissal. The hospital's official reason for his dismissal is what was stated in the supposed handbill.

A few hours later, Political Security apparatus detained Hasan, while news of his dismissal – supposed to be kept secret – similarly was disclosed publicly.