Cholera kills the un­born in Ye­men

The Witness - - NEWS -

HODEIDAH (Ye­men) — One of the lat­est vic­tims of the cholera epi­demic that has killed more than 2 000 peo­ple in Ye­men had yet to even take her first breath.

Her mother Safaa Issa Ka­heel, then nine months preg­nant, was brought into a crowded clinic in the Western port city of Hodeidah by her hus­band, who had to bor­row the travel fare from a neigh­bour.

“My stom­ach started hurt­ing more and more,” said Ka­heel (37), a hy­drat­ing drip hooked into her arm.

Once there, she was re­ferred by nurse Hayam al­Shamaa for an ul­tra­sound scan which showed her baby had died of de­hy­dra­tion — one of 15 to per­ish in the womb due to cholera in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to doc­tors at the city’s Thawra hos­pi­tal.

“I felt like death,” Ka­heel said, her voice strained. “Thank god I sur­vived the [de­liv­ery], but my di­ar­rhoea hasn’t stopped.”

The Red Cross has warned that cholera, a di­ar­rhoeal dis­ease that has been erad­i­cated in most de­vel­oped coun­tries, could in­fect a mil­lion peo­ple in Ye­men by the end of the year.

Two­and­a­half years of war have sapped Ye­men of the money and med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties it needs to bat­tle the con­ta­gion, to which aid agen­cies and medics say the poor, the starv­ing, the preg­nant and the young are most vul­ner­a­ble.

Save the Chil­dren said in Au­gust that chil­dren un­der 15 rep­re­sent nearly half of new cases and a third of deaths, with mal­nour­ished chil­dren more than six times more likely to die of cholera than well­fed ones.

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