Opinion | Will the Next Superbug Come From Yemen? - The New York Times
Before the war, #Yemen had a functioning, if fragile, health system. The war destroyed it, along with the country’s water and sanitation infrastructure. Many small children are not even getting routine vaccinations. Nearly 18 million people are hungry, with many close to famine levels. By conservative estimates, 10,000 civilians have been killed, with 52,000 more wounded — fertile ground for drug resistance.
Antibiotic consumption was already very high in the region. A 2014 study found a prevalence of nonprescription antibiotic use by 48 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia and 78 percent in Yemen. Syria was a major producer of antibiotics, both for itself and for export.
It’s a recipe for catastrophe: a struggling health system where antibiotics remain widely available with little oversight, combined with an overwhelming number of wounded in hospitals and weak hygiene and infection-control practices. Doctors in Yemen, struggling to treat the rush of patients, often use broad-spectrum antibiotics on even simple infections. “This creates a new generation of multidrug-resistant bacteria,” Dr. Mansoor said, and inadvertently sets the stage for a public health meltdown.