UAE doctor says poverty in Yemen province is shocking| MENAFN.COM

Friday, 01 July 2022 08:34 GMT

UAE doctor says poverty in Yemen province is shocking


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) A German doctor, who recently volunteered in Yemen, said it won't be the last time she serves in a conflict zone to save lives.

"This was my first such experience, but definitely won't be the last. After witnessing the desperate conditions in which people live in Socotra, I don't think I will ever say no to another such opportunity," Dr Corina Weber, internal medicine specialist at NMC Hospital in Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times.

Dr Weber served at the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Yemen's Socotra archipelago for 12 days from June 21 to July 2. The NMC-managed hospital is the only healthcare facility for some 60,000 inhabitants of Socotra, one of the poorest and remote areas in the war-torn country.

"I have been living in the UAE for the last seven years and this country has given me all the happiness. So, when one of my Emirati patients suggested that I join UAE's humanitarian initiatives in Yemen, I did not have to think.

If the UAE wants my service anywhere in the world, I will go," said Dr Weber, who is originally from Romania. She is married to Stefan, also a doctor in the UAE.

The UAE has deployed soldiers to Socotra as part of its campaign to offer humanitarian assistance and also to assist in development and reconstruction works. The Emirates Red Crescent is also undertaking various initiatives like distribution of food and relief materials, building of mosques and houses.

The UAE is fighting a civil war in Yemen on the side of the Arab coalition against Houthi rebels, to reinstate the country's legitimate government. However, Socotra that lies about 380 kilometres south of mainland Yemen in the Arabian Sea, has remained largely unaffected by the war. But the abject poverty of the people of Socotra, Dr Weber said, was shocking.

"These people had earlier no access to healthcare or even proper food. I have never seen such acute forms of malnourishment, especially among children. They also have rare conditions like Rheumatic heart disease, caused mainly due to lack of access to antibiotics."

She said the doctors in the hospital are working in extremely difficult conditions to cater to the medical needs of the people. "I was seeing around 70 patients daily, something that is unthinkable on a normal working day in the UAE. By 8am, there are hundreds queuing up in front of the hospital, and consultations will go on till 7pm or even later. It was hectic but rewarding.

"I was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people of Socotra. These are people who absolutely have nothing. But they still used to bring me lemon or some small fruits or flowers to show their appreciation. It was so touching. I have learned a lot from those 12 days," said Dr Weber.


Anjana Sankar Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.

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