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Urgent need for rehabilitation services in Yemen


After two years of war, violence is part of daily life in Yemen. Handicap International is therefore providing support to rehabilitation departments in three health centres in Sana’a, where it has already assisted more than 4,500 people since August 2015.

Injured after a bombing on her hometown, this young woman was supported by Handicap International through the provision of an assistive device and psychosocial support sessions.

Injured after a bombing on her hometown in Yemen, this young woman was supported by Handicap International through the provision of an assistive device and psychosocial support sessions. | © Handicap International

Handicap International provides rehabilitation care in a specialist centre and rehabilitation departments in two hospitals in the Yemeni capital. An average of 250 people a month benefit from Handicap International’s support. Since the start of the conflict in March 2015, there has been an increase in demand for rehabilitation services, already in short supply in Yemen, and a decrease in supply.

To address this situation, the organisation has trained 235 medical staff and helps to case-manage patients. Over the last 18 months, it has donated nearly 7,000 items of equipment such as wheelchairs and crutches, and provides medical staff with consultation tables and other supplies.

Civilians traumatised by violence

Handicap International has also provided 4,500 people with psychological support. People who are injured in explosions and crossfire or witness the death of a relative are often traumatised by their experiences. Many suffer stress, depression or shock.

The organisation facilitates one-to-one and group discussion sessions to help people overcome their problems. Talking through trauma or day-to-day problems and forging links with people with similar experiences can help them rebuild their lives.

Thousands in need of rehabilitation and psychological support

According to Arnaud Pont, the head of Handicap International’s emergency operations in Yemen: “After two years of war, the crisis in Yemen is still largely ignored by the international community. However, with more than 50,000 people killed or maimed and three million displaced since the start of the conflict, humanitarian needs remain high.”

“Thousands need physical and functional rehabilitation care or psychological support to cope with the trauma of violence. Since the end of 2015, Handicap International has been tireless in providing response in these areas by assisting rehabilitation departments in three hospitals in Sana’a.”

Why does demand for rehabilitation increase during conflicts?

Armed conflicts cause a rise in the number of people who suffer injuries that can lead to the onset of disabilities. If a person’s leg is injured by an explosive device or firearm, for example, they will probably require surgery.

After the operation, during convalescence, they will need weeks of rehabilitation care. These physiotherapy exercises will help them regain the full use of their limb. If their muscles and bones are affected and they do not receive appropriate care they risk losing mobility. If they have had an amputation, their rehabilitation care will include the supply of adapted equipment, such as a prosthesis, and help using it.

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