Irish Nurse Working in Yemen Tells That Women Are More Stronger Than People Thinks
Avril Patterson, an Irish nurse spent four years in Syria before moving to Yemen last year. She has grown habitual to work in conflict zones and in emergency situations. She has also spent some time in Kenya, Liberia and Afghanistan.
However, the health emergency unfurling in Yemen, a country suffering from a humanitarian disaster and destroyed by the four years of civil war, can be very profuse.
From the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Ms Patterson states that it comes down to health. The fact that there’s severe poverty in the nation, f people don’t get food, their health will get affected and not having access to clean water, might lead to cholera. Cholera outbreak can be a massive problem.
In Yemen first and foremost it’s all about survival. People want to remain safe. Then they are looking for food, water and shelter.
Ms Patterson, who trained in Belfast City Hospital, has spent the last eight months heading the International Committee of the Red Cross’s health programme in Yemen. She stated that just like any other conflict, women and children have paid a huge price for the insecurity.
Ms Patterson stated that Yemeni women generally prefer to give birth at home, which is not a problem in case the delivery has no problem.
However, many women prefer not to take the chance of travelling to hospital, even when they require a Caesarean section or an emergency medical attention. She stated that a lot of precaution disintegrates in conflict. Most women ask themselves should they go for a risky journey in order to get antenatal care. As a result, many women would stay where they are.
The heightening conflict and dislocation of people from their homes also develop a greater risk of sexual exploitation and abuse with growing numbers of women reporting incidences of sexual violence. Regardless of the hardships Yemeni women faces as the conflict continues, Ms Patterson states that Yemeni women here are very strong than people think.