The faces of Yemen’s cholera outbreak: 9-year-old Jehad

The faces of Yemen’s cholera outbreak: 9-year-old Jehad

Publication info


Jehad, 9, is in the hospital for the second time in a month with cholera. She lives in the Mabyan district in Hajja governorate of Yemen and the country’s cholera outbreak has hit his village hard. “Every day many people get sick with the disease. One month ago, I got sick with vomiting and diarrhea and I got better. But here I am again, facing the same symptoms.”

Dr. Numan Saheb supervises the hospital’s cholera unit. “We receive more than 150 cases of cholera at Aljomhuri Hospital on daily basis, the majority of these cases is from Mabyan where Jehad comes from.”

Jehad fetches water for her family’s daily use from the valley where rain collects in small ponds. She and her friends also use the water in the ponds to wash clothes and other household items. At the end of the day, they carry  water in jerry cans to their houses so it can be used for drinking and cooking.

Many of the people in Mabyan district have been displaced due to conflict. They are poor and living in conditions that make the spread of diseases like cholera easy. Yemen now faces 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.

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.  

Jehad Ali is 9-years old and hails from Mabyan district in Hajja governorate of Yemen. This is the second time for Jehad to be admitted at the cholera isolation center at the Aljomhuri Hospital.