Report of Activities in 2018
During the year of 2018 a Dutch couple – dr. Ton and his wife Anneke - have worked on the island of Socotra. Because of the war on the mainland and the difficulties in traveling, they were the entire year based on Socotra.
Anneke, who is an experienced nurse, has mainly worked in the field of health education and nutritional advice, both in the Sheikh Khalifa hospital in Hadiboh as well as in the two out-clinics.
It is remarkable that the people on Socotra are so motivated to have their children vaccinated. They come for BCG and polio-vaccination soon after the birth.
Because the mothers come already so early to the vaccination room, Anneke would be present there to start giving feeding advice if indicated.
The medical staff is always alert to early diagnose children with a cleft deformity. In general, there is often the combination of a cleft lip with a cleft palate, but on the island we see only children with a cleft palate.
The director of the hospital has been very helpful in ordering special feeding bottles in the UAE for children with a cleft palate. After Anneke gave instructions about the proper use of the bottle and did a number of follow-up visits, several babies have really done well and started to gain weight. It is encouraging to see how much difference even simple instructions and some practical help can make; it would be wonderful if also the local nursing staff would embrace this more.
Dr. Ton, who is a tropical doctor, has provided services in a general medical clinic in the Sheikh Khalifa hospital in Hadiboh, three days a week. One day a week he visited a clinic in the area, where he provided mainly mother- and childcare. These visits were alternating in Qalansiya at the west-point of the island and in the Noged health center in the south.
Early in 2018 a young Yemeni doctor, who had just graduated as General Practitioner in a neighboring country, asked dr. Ton if he would be willing to supervise him before he would start working independently. It turned out to be one of the best opportunities to put into practice what has been one of the main purposes of our medical services: in-service training and knowledge transfer. It has been a joy to train a young medical doctor who was both bright and also keen to learn more about the wide scope of medical practice. Not seldom, after he had seen a medical condition which was new for him, he would look up all relevant study material at home, and give feedback the next day. It was good that he also joined us on the weekly visits to Qalansiya and Noged. During the car drive of about one and a half hour (one way!), there was ample time for discussion. But even then, time often seemed too short!
After 6 months he was also allowed to do some short periods of training in other departments of the hospital, like pediatrics, internal medicine, cardiology, ENT, ophthalmology, nephrology as well as in the emergency room. He is now employed in the Sheikh Khalifa hospital and also works in a mobile clinic in the villages.
For much of the year dr.Ton continued the training of a young midwife in Noged, to become proficient in performing ultrasound examinations in pregnant women.
She has learned to detect abnormalities and she will advice patients if they need to deliver in Hadiboh, where the only hospital of the island is situated.
A group of young new midwives, all from Socotra, have just finished their three years training in Mukalla. From the Director of Health of Socotra they all received a complete set of instruments for the purpose of home deliveries.
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.