Improving Access to Quality Health Care in Yemen

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Umm Zidan is a mother of five, and with four of her children sick at the same time, she is under duress.

“I’m at my wit’s end,” Umm Zidan says.

She has brought her children to Al-Qalowa health care facility in Aden Governorate, Yemen, where they can access medical services, including medication, for free.


child receives health care in Yemen

CRS and Caritas Poland support the Al-Qalowa Healthcare facility​ in Yemen, so that people can access free, quality health care.

Photo by Ali Najip Mohamed Ebrahim for CRS


“We wouldn’t be able to access health care, like treatments and medicines, if the facility didn’t exist,” Umm Zidan says. “When I visit the facility, the doctors, pharmacists and nurses give me their full attention.”

Finding adequate health care in Yemen can be a challenge. A humanitarian crisis has devastated families across Yemen since a civil war began there in 2014, with 80% of the population in urgent need of aid. Only about half of the health facilities are fully functioning and nearly 20 million people lack access to basic health care. Catholic Relief Services works with partner Caritas Poland to operate three health facilities in Aden, including Al-Qalowa. These facilities struggled to stay open amid the pressures of the war and fell into disrepair as the public system collapsed.

“In Yemen, particularly in Aden, the health care system grapples with substantial challenges because their resources are so limited,” says Usama Ali, CRS country manager in Yemen.This means they can’t operate at capacity, and some aren’t operating at all. We are working with these health institutions because we want to enhance the health and well-being of the population in Aden and throughout Yemen.”

CRS and Caritas Poland provide medicine and supplies, funding and training medical staff, as well as ensure the maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure at each facility.


healthcare worker in Yemen

In partnership with Caritas Poland, CRS provides lifesaving health and water, sanitation and hygiene to help keep health facilities open and operating in vulnerable communities.

Photo by Ali Najip Mohamed Ebrahim for CRS


Razeeg Al-Faquih has worked as a midwife with Caritas Poland since 2020, and currently provides pregnancy and post-natal care to women in communities near Al-Qalowa.

“I’m trying to provide health care services to as many pregnant women as possible in remote areas,” Razeeg says. “We aim to [help] the mother give birth to a healthy baby safely.”

This sometimes means helping women deliver their babies at home, but for more complicated cases, Razeeg urges women to deliver at the nearest hospital. Since many women cannot afford the cost of a hospital birth, they are escorted to the Al-Qalowa’s emergency obstetric and newborn care department, where they can receive free care. Razeeg also provides information to women throughout their pregnancies to avoid and manage complications.

“Particularly, we provide our health care services to marginalized and displaced people,” Razeeg says. “Neonatal jaundice can occur in newborns; therefore, I pay them regular visits and if any issues arrive with the newborn, I refer her to a neonatologist.”


healthcare worker in Yemen

CRS helps ensure health facilities like Al-Qalowa in Yemen have the capacity to provide lifesaving primary health services to than 26,000 people.

Photo by Ali Najip Mohamed Ebrahim for CRS


Amal Saad is seven months pregnant and has been visiting Al-Qalowa throughout her pregnancy.

“The medical staff is cooperative, and they provide access to high-quality services such as treatments and ultrasounds,” Amal says. “After giving birth, I will visit the health care facility to have my child vaccinated.”

During Umm Zidan’s visit to Al-Qalowa, her children received the care they needed—antibiotics, pain medicine, ear and nasal drops. Umm Zidan knows from experience how beneficial the treatment can be to her family’s health.

 “The facility’s health care services enabled my son to return to school and play,” she says. “He feels better. Honestly, the medicines helped us all feel better.”