Customs, traditions, class and ethnic discrimination have thrown them outside their societies, deprived them from their most basic human rights because of having brown skins and eyes that shed different colors because of the injustice.
For decades, marginalized groups in Yemen have been subject to social discrimination and exploitation, and further marginalization of their citizenship rights, including the right to participate in public life, to be isolated in human groups completely away from the surrounding society, to live a life of forgetfulness and deprivation of the most basic rights and services they need to live like the rest of the surrounding communities, including health services.
Al-Wafa Medical Center, the center is located in one of the western suburbs of Taiz, within one of the largest population centers for the marginalized in Taiz and Yemen, it is called the “residential city”. Because of its far distance from Taiz city center, the center was established to receive sick cases there.
Negative stereotypes related to discrimination between groups of Yemeni society led to the rooting of class division and classifying this group under a specific name that expresses racial discrimination, in addition to restricting them to specific jobs, which contributed significantly to depriving them of other opportunities. Despite the international and local laws in force that criminalize and prohibit racial discrimination among members of Yemeni society, the society itself has contributed to imposing discrimination between groups in society since ancient times.
The protracted armed conflict, forced displacement, deterioration of institutions, and economic stagnation exacerbated the precarious living situation in the country, as well as the lack of job opportunities, which in turn led to high rates of unemployment among the population, especially the vulnerable groups such as the marginalized groups.
Al-Wafa Medical Center receives a large number of sick cases that come to it daily, whether from the “residential city” or its neighboring areas, because the center provides its medical services for free, except some services that are provided with very little fees. In this regard, the Center relies on the support it receives from humanitarian NGOs from time to time, in addition to the small sums it earns from its provided services which are not supported by the organizations, such as medical examinations and checks, as well as medical services for pregnant women and children.
Fouad, Director General of Al-Wafa Center, says: "Our humanity makes us take the initiative to provide free services to the poorest families who come to the center on a daily basis, even if it requires us to pay fees for the services that were provided from the small salaries we receive, because the Public Health and Population Office in the district demands the center to deliver the monthly fees that the center earns for paid services, and the office does not compromise in this, due to the financial laws and regulations that require the delivery of these fees to its various legally specified offices.
The war Taiz city began in early 2015, to end the work of most of the ministries’ offices in the governorate, which made the lives of the population go through chapters of suffering that increases as the war continues. The suspension of basic services has increased the suffering of the population, especially the marginalized groups.
Al-Wafa Medical Center has been operating at full capacity without interruption over the past years without the support of the state, whose institutions, especially the Public Health and Population Office, were suspended due to the war. This made the center face a number of problems that contributed to the suspension of some of its services and caused great suffering to the center’s visitors. The power outage of the center was the most prominent of these problems, followed by a complete suspension of the laboratory. The services provided to women are about to stop, and this suffering threatens the most vulnerable groups “women.”
Fouad says: "Our center is exposed to a lack of attention and care from the state, and we rely in our work on the interventions of organizations that are limited to providing specific types of medicines, in addition to some interventions that treat malnutrition and provide vaccinations for children."
With his sad features, Fouad tells us the story of one of the patients who suffered because of the suspension of laboratory services in the center: "He came to us while he was very tired because he contracted a kind of seasonal fever that must be dealt with according to the indications in the medical examinations that must be carefully conducted by the laboratory, but because the center's laboratories stopped, he was transferred to an external laboratory. Because the center provides medicine for free, he returned to us with the results of the tests that had incorrectly diagnosed his condition, indicating that he had an inflammations. The case was dealt with, according to the results of the medical tests, and the patient was given the appropriate medicines according to the results shown, which worsened his health condition and made him return to us in a critical condition. The center was blamed for giving the patient the wrong medicines, which led to transfer him to a larger hospital in the city, forcing me to personally bear all the costs of his treatment.
Fortunately for Fouad and the center’s staff, and with funding from GWQ, and within the framework of the program “Strengthening community participation and building the capacities of CSOs, youth and women’s initiatives, and activating their roles in local communities” funded by CARE International, Future Association implemented its project “Health For community peace”, in order to meet the needs of Al-Wafa Medical Center through providing the center with a source of electricity through solar energy systems and providing an ultrasound device for the obstetrics and gynecology clinic in the center to resume working again at full capacity, which almost stopped due to the failure of the previous device, in addition to providing the laboratory with some devices that helped to resume serving after an almost complete suspension, the most important of which was a refrigerator for storing laboratory solutions.
Fouad says happily: "Before the intervention of the project, the center was suffering from the interruption of laboratory services, which is the most important section of the center. I now feel comfortable and satisfied after the laboratory returned to work again. After we obtained a refrigerator in the laboratory section, we could keep the solutions for longer periods and in a large quantity. Therefore, we will not have to buy the solutions in parts and at a high price as before.
Al-Wafa Medical Center has suffered marginalization like the residents around it, which forced us to have only two options, either to stop working or to continue with the available capacities which hardly provide the excepted services because the center is being visited by the poorest people who know nothing about the center's needs.
After she almost gave up working in the center, Khawla returned to actively provide her services as before, and although she does not receive a monthly salary in return for her work as a gynecologist and obstetrician in the center, Khawla travels a for about three kilometers per day to reach the center and meet the needs of Women.
Dr. Khawla says: "I felt a kind of frustration that made me unable to work, because of the sadness I feel when I stand helpless in front of the women who come to me seeking my help and go back sad after transferring them to an external hospital, while most of them do not have the costs to travel to another place for treatment, but now I feel that everything is fine, especially after the clinic was equipped with the ultrasound device.
Fouad, Khawla and the staff working there dream of establishing a large room for labor and surgeries and providing it with the necessary equipment, because the labor room available is very small and is not sufficient to receive more than one birth case at the same time.