Yemen is one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Its capital and largest city is Sana'a. Yemen's territory includes over 200 islands, the largest of which is Socotra, about 354 km (220 mi) to the south of mainland Yemen. It is the only state in the Arabian Peninsula to have a purely republican form of government. Yemen was the first country in the Arabian peninsula to grant women the right to vote. Yemeni unification took place on 22 May 1990, when North Yemen was united with South Yemen, forming the Republic of Yemen.
The majority of Yemen's population is divided into tribal groups, especially in the northern areas of the country where 85% of local residents belong to various tribes. There are also small groups of peoples of Turkish/Ottoman origin in urban areas. Roughly 66% of the population are Sunni Muslims following the Shafi'i school while 34% adhere to the Zaydi Shia branch of Islam with small minorities of Ismali Muslims.
A Shia rebel movement, the Houthis, emerged in the early 2000s, claiming it would fight against what it saw as the marginalization of the Shi’ites of the Zaydi sect, which prevails in the Yemeni highlands.
Worldwide Services (WS) is a Non-Governmental Organization which is committed, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and Population of the Republic of Yemen, to contributing to the provision of quality health care services as well as to the training of Yemeni health care workers.
The work of Worldwide Services is presently concentrated on the island of Socotra.
The Dutch couple (surgeon and nurse) who were the last WS staff-members to leave Socotra at the end of 2015, have been able to return to the island in the middle of November 2016.
They were welcomed at the airport by the Director of Health and by other friends.
In the mean time they have resumed their work in the hospital in Hadiboh and also in the clinics in the outlying areas.
Worldwide Services hopes that other staff can join them in due time.
Despite the war on the main land, the situation on the island seems stable.
But the shortage of commodities constitute a daily challenge to living and working on the island.
The beginning of the work of Worldwide Services dates back to 1973, when a group of young medical professionals started to provide medical services in the Republican Hospital in Saadah.