The faces of Yemen’s cholera outbreak: 10-year-old Mustafa Mohammed

The faces of Yemen’s cholera outbreak: 10-year-old Mustafa Mohammed

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Ten-year-old Mustafa was admitted to the cholera isolation center at the Aljomhuri Hospital in Hajja, Yemen, in critical condition. His parents had hoped that the infection would clear by itself and delayed bringing Mustafa to the hospital.

Yemen is facing an acute and fast-spreading cholera outbreak that is compounding the country’s already dire humanitarian crisis. The country’s lack of a functioning health system and Yemenis’ limited access to safe water and hygiene have fueled the disease’s spread. Hajja governorate has had some of Yemen’s highest infection numbers, with 17,431 out of the more than 200,000 reported cases.

Mustafa’s eyes tell a story of four days of suffering from severe diarrhea that left him dehydrated and unable to move. According to Mustafa’s doctor, the child is expected to stay one more day in the hospital in order to pass the hazard stage of dehydration.

18.8 million people in Yemen require humanitarian assistance, 14.5 million lack access to safe water and sanitation services, 17 million people are food insecure, and around 2 million are displaced. More than half of all health facilities in Yemen are closed or partially functioning as a result of the conflict. Public service delivery institutions face huge challenges to resume salaries for public sector employees, most of whom have not received payment for more than eight months.  

Mustafa’s father says how lucky they are that they can afford to bring his son to the hospital. “There are a lot of sick people I know in this city who are unable to afford even the transport expenses necessary to reach the hospital,” he says.

Ten-year-old Mustafa was admitted in the cholera isolation center at the Aljomhuri Hospital in Hajja, Yemen, in a very critical condition.