YEMEN Press Agency

Yemen witnesses frightening rise in rate of cancer due to coalition war

SANAA, Feb. 08 (YPA) – The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for the Therapeutic Medicine Sector, Dr. Ali Jahaf, on Tuesday said that more than 3,000 cancer patients need to travel for treatment abroad.

“Those patients’ lives are threatened with death due to the closure of Sanaa International Airport and the prevention of entry of medicines,” Dr. Jahaf added in a press conference organized by the National Center for Oncology in Sanaa on the effects of the war on the therapeutic side of tumors and the size of the difficulties and challenges facing the work.

He noted the catastrophic repercussions of the World Health Organization’s stopping the entry of cancer drugs into Yemen due to the obstacles placed by the Saudi-led coalition.

The coalition has prevented the entry of medicines for cancer patients and at the same time deprived the injured of their right to travel for treatment abroad, Dr. Jahaf explained.

The Health Ministry’s undersecretary called on the international community to pressure the coalition to open Sanaa Airport and allow patients to travel, especially children with leukemia.

For his part, Director-General of the National Center for Oncology, Dr. Abdullah Thawabeh, indicated that Yemen has witnessed an increase in the incidence of cancer during the past seven years by more than 50 percent compared to before.

Dr. Thawabeh pointed out that the number of cases received by the center since its establishment until today has reached 78,000 cases, including 37,000 during the past few years.

He attributed the lack of more than 50 percent of medicines for cancer patients, especially chemical medicines, to suppliers’ reluctance to import them as a result of obstacles and arbitrary measures imposed by the coalition countries, noting that the number of deaths of cancer patients reaches 300 cases annually.

Dr. Thawabeh warned of an imminent interruption of the center’s services during the next two months as a result of the coalition’s continued detention of fuel ships and preventing them from entering the port of Hodeida.

In turn, Deputy Director-General of the Oncology Center, Dr. Ali Al-Mansour, affirmed that there is an annual increase in the number of cancer cases by 20 percent.

He referred that the center receives approximately 160 cases per day from various provinces, and annually records about 6,000 new cases of the disease.