I don’t think I could do a summary of this article justice, so here is an excerpt of the article from Al Jazeera:
Many leprosy sufferers told Al Jazeera they had been banished from their villages and towns, ostracised for carrying an ancient disease incorrectly associated with sin.
“Everyone is a victim of this war,” Abdul Rahim al-Samee, the director of the National Leprosy Elimination Programme and head of Taiz’s main health office, told Al Jazeera.
“But lepers are one of the many silent victims. They’re isolated, abandoned by their families and have to endure an appalling end of life care.”
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that affects the skin, nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, as well as the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes and throat.
The social stigma attached to it goes back centuries, cutting across different cultures.
With symptoms taking up to five years to appear, the disease develops slowly and painfully.
But leprosy is entirely curable today, thanks to a treatment called multi-drug therapy.
In Yemen, at least 367 cases were reported in 2016, up from 255 the year before, according to the World Health Organization.
Scores of emaciated patients, accompanied by their caretakers, have sought treatment at Taiz’s Dermatology and Venereology hospital.
However, a chronic lack of funding has left many complaining of receiving substandard care.
“I don’t have food, water, electricity, fuel, cooking gas. Nothing. I have nothing,” said 65-year-old Museed al-Firasi, a leprosy sufferer.
“The only water I get is rain water or a mere 20 litres after walking a long distance to collect it.”
Aid agencies told Al Jazeera they were struggling to deliver relief packages to large parts of Taiz, a front line in the fight between the Houthis and government forces, with the rebels preventing the delivery of drugs and medical supplies to areas not under their control.
The vast majority of Taiz’s hospitals and medical institutions have also been forced to close amid the war.
The situation is “extremely challenging”, said Fatik al-Rodaini, a Yemeni journalist-turned-charity worker at Mona Relief, an aid group that operates in hard-to-reach areas of the country.
“It’s near impossible [for international organisations] to get permission from both sides – the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition – to visit some of the worst-affected areas,” he said.
“I have a strong team in the field who have never failed a project, but even when we enter crisis centres, our work is immediately hampered by authorities who want to interfere in the distribution of aid.
“I’ve personally been arrested on several occasions in the governorates of Hudaida and Mahwit. It’s a real nightmare”.