Sadeq Al-Wesabi Published:23-01-2012
Residents in impoverished Al-Kadan are complaining that an absence of health services is allowing dengue fever to spread through the area.
Al-Kadan, north Hodeida, has a population of about 10,000 people, most of whom suffer abject poverty and a lack of health, education, water and other basic services.
Al-Kadan’s farms and valleys create the perfect environment for the mosquitoes that spread dengue fever as well as other diseases such as malaria. Its symptoms include fever, headache, joint pains and skin rash and in a small number of cases can lead to fatal complications.
Ahmed Badr, 43, a resident in Al-Kadan told the Yemen Times that he and his 12-member family is infected with the disease as well.
"I cannot move my joints easily and I face difficulty walking normally," he said. "I've taken nutrients and vitamins to alleviate my pains."
According to Badr, the virus has been infecting people of any age. "Unfortunately, my 2-year-old daughter and my 80-year-old father are both infected with the virus," he said.
This is the second time he has been infected with dengue, he explained, after contracting he virus last year. "I suffered from a high fever that time and one of my friends died," he said.
The health center in the area, which is crammed with patients, lacks medicines and skilled staff, according to Badr, and he called on the government to send more supplies and staff.
Mariam Al-Omari, a teacher in Al-Kadan, said that many students have been infected with the disease. "We advise their parents to keep them off school for a while," she said.
Dr. Ammar Ahmed Ezzi, health worker in Al-Kadan, said that the disease causes the hands and legs to swell and shares a number of symptoms with malaria so it is often misdiagnosed.
He called for the Ministry of Health to send teams to the “poverty-stricken area” to fight the disease. “Unfortunately, the branch of the Health Ministry in Hodeida is stagnant,” he said. “The conditions of the area’s residents are already harsh and this disease is further damaging their situation,” he added,
Ezzi said that the health center had to give the patients painkillers to relieve their pains temporarily. However, he said the patients return only after one week seeking more medications.
“Until now, the government has taken no serious steps to fight this disease,” he said.
In recent years, outbreaks of dengue fever have spread through different areas in Hodeida to reach the borders of Saudi Arabia, claiming dozens of lives.