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Cablegate: Sitrep: H1n1 Pandemic has the Potential To

VZCZCXRO7264
PP RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR
DE RUEHYN #2002 3071207
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031207Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3124
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA

UNCLAS SANAA 002002

SIPDIS

NEA/ARP FOR ANDREW MACDONALD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO TBIO KSAF KPAO PREL
PINR, AMGT, TF, YM
SUBJECT: SITREP: H1N1 PANDEMIC HAS THE POTENTIAL TO
OVERWHELM YEMEN'S HEALTH RESOURCES

REF: A. SANAA 1850
B. SANAA 1134
C. SANAA 875

1. (U) Summary. Yemen has 415 confirmed cases of H1N1
influenza, and health officials suspect an additional 800
cases. The ROYG has a 50,000 supply of PPE (Personal
Protective Equipment) to prevent the spread of the virus and
100,000 doses of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to treat H1N1
patients, but has no vaccine to inoculate people before being
infected. One public hospital continues to treat H1N1
patients, while private hospitals are refusing to admit
suspected cases, as concern for the virus spreads. As the
number of H1N1 cases increases, the ROYG's inability to
convince hospitals to treat H1N1 patients is concerning. As
the numbers of H1N1 cases rise, the pandemic threatens to
overwhelm health resources within Yemen. End Summary.

415 CASES CONFIRMED
-------------------

2. (U) As of October 20, the Ministry of Public Health and
Population had 415 confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza and
reported 15 deaths from "swine flu." According to Dr.
Abdulhakim Al-Kohlani, Director General of Disease and
Epidemiological Surveillance, the ROYG currently has only one
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine to test samples; as a
result, the ROYG is able to test only 30 samples a day.
Thus, health officials are not testing contacts, only
treating them if they have symptoms. Kohlani told EconOff on
October 21 that he predicts there are at least 800 more cases
in Yemen, raising the number of H1N1 influenza infections to
well over 1000. (Note: The Ministry of Health has requested
USG assistance to procure additional PCR machines. End
Note.)

ROYG RESPONSE
-------------

3. (U) The Ministry of Health's original USD 60,000 budget
for surveillance has been supplemented with USD 300,000,
specifically for H1N1 influenza surveillance and detection.
The ROYG has approximately a 50,000 supply of PPE (Personal
Protective Equipment) and 100,000 doses of Oseltamivir
(Tamiflu), some of which were donated from Bahrain. The
ROYG does not have H1N1 vaccine and will be unable to meet
the Saudi requirement to vaccinate those going on the Hajj in
mid-November. The ROYG is waiting for a supply of WHO
vaccine to come in by late November or early December, and is
expecting 2.2 million doses of vaccine at that time. (Note:
This will be too late to vaccinate people going on the Hajj.
End Note.)

4. (U) The ROYG continues to close classrooms and schools
when H1N1 cases are detected. Kohlani told EconOff on
October 21 that, so far, the ROYG had closed one school in
Hajja governorate. On October 27, Saba News reported that
three schools were closed in Sana'a after several students
tested positive for H1N1 influenza. Another October 27 Saba
News report indicated that only one hospital, the Al-Thawra
Public Hospital in Sana'a, is receiving H1N1 patients; the
other hospitals are refusing to receive suspected H1N1 cases.
Kohlani admitted that despite Ministry of Health directives,
it is difficult to convince private hospitals to access
potential H1N1 patients due to the fear that health workers
will become infected themselves.

5. (U) Comment: The official number of H1N1 cases in Yemen
(415) is most likely understated, since the Ministry of
Public Health and Population has the ability to test only 30
samples a day. Estimates that reach into the 1000s are
presumed accurate. As the number of H1N1 cases increases,
the ROYG's inability to convince hospitals to treat H1N1
patients is concerning. As the numbers of H1N1 cases rise,
the pandemic threatens to overwhelm already insufficient
health resources within Yemen. End Comment.
SECHE

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