The country of Yemen is rarely featured in our news feeds. Yet the United Nations has declared that the ongoing war in Yemen has generated the greatest humanitarian disaster that we have in our world today. The shelling has destroyed hospitals, clinics, and health facilities. Health care in Yemen has been hit hard.
With a heart for the forgotten people of our world, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Canada has continued working in Yemen despite the extreme challenges that wars bring to our work.
With funding from the government of Canada, ADRA is working to assist the health-care sector of this wartorn country. From April 2018 to March 2020, ADRA provided health-care facilities and personnel with resources and supplies in one of the country's most heavily affected regions.
Under this project, ADRA renovated and fully equipped three health units, including a fully functional laboratory. ADRA is helping to pay the salaries of health-care providers, including doctors, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, and nutrition experts, so that they can continue providing for their own families while they serve their communities.
Imagine what it would be like to be pregnant in a war zone, with no facility or doctor available to help bring your baby into the world. Because of the war, people have not been able to work in their fields, and the resulting lack of nutrition during pregnancy can lead to complications. How thankful would you be to learn that ADRA had just rebuilt a clinic in your village and staffed it with experienced medical staff?
One man told us this story:
“My wife is 27 years old and was nine months pregnant. I was always worried about what we would do if she were to go through hard labor. I am a poor man, currently with no income. When it came time for her to have the baby, I waited outside, nervous about how it would go. Suddenly my wife began screaming in pain. My mother came running out of the house, exclaiming, ‘Your wife! Your wife! Your wife!’ It was all she could say. She was speechless. I left her and ran to the room to find my wife lying on the bed as if unconscious. She was not talking or making any noise. I tried calling her many times, but she was unresponsive.
“I carried her and ran out on the street, unsure where to go or what to do. I started asking everyone I met to help me find a way to take her to the capital city, Sana’a. My mother told me to instead take her to the ADRA health unit that was much closer. When we arrived, a doctor came out to meet us. He took one look at her and immediately brought us in, postponing all his other cases. He called a midwife, and they both began to work on my wife. They gave her some medicines. I overheard the midwife saying that my wife was in a severe condition requiring urgent intervention to save her and the baby’s life. Shortly after that, the nurse asked me if I would agree to a C-section for my wife, to which I immediately agreed. The surgery lasted two hours.
“I cannot tell you how relieved I was to hear the most beautiful sound of a crying baby! The nurse came out and handed me the baby. I asked her about my wife, and she led me to her. Tears of joy came to my eyes to see that my wife was awake and fine!
“I am so grateful to the doctor, the midwife, and all the volunteers. They stopped all their work to save the lives of my wife and baby! Everyone was surprised and happy when we got home. They had prepared themselves for the worst and were delighted to learn that everyone was well and a new life had come to join us! Many tears of happiness were shed all around!
“Words can never be enough to thank ADRA and all the faithful people for their endless effort to take care of our community’s health issues,” the man said.
ADRA Canada leaders reported that they expect the current health and nutrition project to deliver life-saving medical assistance through the support of three hospitals and several clinics over the next two years.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to save lives and to serve people living in need, so that all may live as God intended,” they said.