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Preventing a further health crisis in Yemen

By Agnes McGrane | 29 Jan 2021

Nadia, from Yemen, has been raising awareness of good hygiene practices to help reduce sickness in her village. 

After years of conflict, more than 24 million people in Yemen are in need of urgent aid. Nadia* is one of them. Her community has been struggling with food shortages, poor sanitation, and lack of access to clean water. As Nadia watched disease and illness spread through her village, she knew something had to change.

Nadia lives with her two young children and her mother-in-law in a rural area of southern Yemen. In 2016, her husband travelled to Saudi Arabia to look for work, and he still has not returned. Meanwhile, Nadia has been doing everything she can to look after her family.

Widespread sickness

‘Recently, many outbreaks [of disease] have happened in the village and there have been many deaths for unknown reasons. Diarrhoea and vomiting are very common symptoms for most of the villagers,’ says Nadia.

Many diseases, such as cholera and diarrhoea, are spread through drinking unclean water. It is currently very difficult for people to access medical care in Yemen, so preventing the spread of disease is critical.

Nadia’s community did not have access to clean water, with some villagers travelling for about 40 minutes to get drinking water from a spring. Nadia boiled water before giving it to her children for drinking, and urged her neighbours to do the same to reduce the risk of sickness.

Spreading awareness

Tearfund’s local partners recently launched a cholera and coronavirus response project in Nadia’s area. This involved providing filters to purify water, raising awareness of good hygiene practices and distributing cleaning supplies such as soap.

Nadia volunteered to help with raising awareness about hygiene practices and distributing supplies in her community. She saw the positive impact first-hand.

‘I saw the happiness in the eyes of the people and children during the distribution of items,’ says Nadia. ‘Some families had not been able to buy soap for several months because of the high cost in the village.’

Making changes

The project has already made a big difference to Nadia and her community. ‘After the intervention, my family’s life has changed,’ says Nadia. ‘It is easy for me to have clean and safe water to drink by using the filter provided by the Tearfund project... in addition, my mother-in-law was happy with hygiene kits that she received for the house.’

Nadia is passionate about promoting good hygiene practices, as she believes that this can help to reduce the spread of diseases in her community. She continues to help her community stay safe and healthy.

‘I am impressed by the change that I am making among the women related to hygiene practice,’ says Nadia. ‘I believe by repeating the message, people will change significantly in my community.’

Please pray

Dear God,

We lift up the humanitarian crisis in Yemen to you. Please comfort all those who are suffering. We pray that more communities like Nadia’s will be reached with the urgent help they need, and we pray for protection from coronavirus and other illnesses. We ask for peace and an end to the conflict in Yemen.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen

Written by

Written by Agnes McGrane

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