Coronavirus: Yemenis stay away from hospital out of fear

Only half of 20 COVID beds in Sanaa hospital occupied, MSF

10 July, 13:14

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, JULY 10 - With the spread of the coronavirus in Yemen, the fear of becoming infected is stopping people from seeking medical treatment. A Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team that has recently begun supporting a COVID-19 treatment center at the Sheikh Zayed hospital in the capital Sanaa noted that only half of the 20 beds set aside for COVID-19 patients is currently occupied. The MSF team said that many people consider hospitals a possible source of infection while others believe ''disturbing'' rumours about what may happen to hospitalised patients or are afraid of being stigmatised by their communities if they test positive for the virus. As a result, many Yemenis are not seeking treatment until their condition becomes serious. ''We are seeing firsthand the harmful impact of widespread disinformation across the entire country, which is increasing fear of the virus in society,'' said MSF doctor Abdulrahman, who is working at the Sheikh Zayed hospital. ''Hospitals are safe places for patients and the earlier they come to us, the better chance there is that we will be able to treat them.'' Many patients arriving at the emergency room of the hospital are in critical condition and require immediate respiratory support, MSF said. All six of the beds occupied are in the intensive therapy unit, where those with serious respiratory problems are receiving treatment 24 hours a day, attached to oxygen tanks that must be replaced every three hours. ''We are concerned about what we are seeing in the hospital but we are even more concerned about the patients that we are not seeing, those that choose not to get medical treatment until their conditions worsen sharply,'' said MSF mission chief for Yemen Caroline Ducarme. (ANSAmed). (ANSA).

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