JEDDAH, August 3, 2017 – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) on Thursday signed a $33.7 million agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to fulfil the Kingdom’s pledge toward the intervention and control of cholera in Yemen.
The agreement follows a similar $33 million Memorandum of Understanding that KSRelief signed on Sunday with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for a project to support the water and sanitation sector to “stop the drivers of the epidemic”, KSRelief said in a statement.
Both agreements are part of HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s donation of $66.7 million announced in late June to combat cholera in Yemen, with the funds intended for UNICEF and WHO.
KSRelief Supervisor General HE Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah stated, “This very generous donation was from HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help fight the deadly outbreak of cholera in Yemen and to alleviate the suffering of the people.”
He added, “The Crown Prince has acknowledged the full total amount of the pledge to WHO and UNICEF amounting to $66.7 million to help fight this deadly disease and the balance of $33.7 million will be donated to the World Health Organization (WHO).”
Thursday’s agreement was signed at KSRelief HQ in Riyadh by Dr. Al Rabeeah and WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean office, Dr. Mahmoud Fikri, KSRelief said.
KSRelief has been working closely since the outbreak of the epidemic with Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population, the Saudi Ministry of Health and UN agencies, and will continue in its efforts to help eradicate this disease and support the people of Yemen.
KSRelief has previously supported WHO with $8.2 million according to the directives of King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
“KSRelief has also taken an active role in helping to control the spread of cholera with Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population by dispatching a convoy carrying more than 550 tons of medicine, medical supplies and intravenous and oral solutions, except the areas where Houthi militias are hindering the access of aid,” the statement said.
“KSRelief calls upon the UN and all international humanitarian agencies to stand firm against those who obstruct and violate international humanitarian law in impeding the delivery of the urgently needed humanitarian aid and medical supplies which is desperately needed to those people that are most vulnerable and disadvantaged,” it added.
Dr. Fikri thanked HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for granting WHO the funds to support cholera programs in Yemen, which he said “demonstrates the spirit of brotherhood and human compassion embodied in the provision of humanitarian services to peoples and countries suffering from health crises and environmental challenges.”
Dr. Fikri said KSRelief was a “strong ally for international organizations”.
He said cholera drugs and vaccines are available in large quantities, thanks to the support of KSRelief, which sent a large shipment of these drugs at the onset of the cholera outbreak in Yemen.
A recent weekly report from the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population said the cases of disease observed were concentrated in Sana’a, Dali and Taiz provinces but the number of cases decreased significantly in Marib, Shabwa, Saada, Al Mahra, and Al Jawf governorates. The numbers agree with WHO figures at the time.
Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah Dahan said KSRelief provided aid to all Yemeni regions and worked around the clock there.
“We work with them as a team to build and strengthen effective partnerships to deliver aid to every Yemeni citizen,” he said. “We are counting on the role of the international community in tackling cholera.”
He said the latest statistics show there are 419,000 cholera cases in Yemen with 1,892 deaths, for a recovery rate of 99 percent, “thanks to God and then the support of the brothers in the Kingdom and the GCC countries”. He said there were 252 suspected meningitis cases.
WHO said in a recent report the number of cases has exceeded 400,000, adding “But there is hope. More than 99 percent of people who are sick with suspected cholera and who can access health services are now surviving.”