the footsteps of Ion Keith Falconer, the former and
present Bishops of Cyprus and the Gulf have worked hard to
establish a modern clinic for mothers and children at the
restored former garrison Church, Christchurch, at Steamer
Point in Aden. A fine modern clinic was opened in October
1996 to serve its local population. It took a while for
the message to get across that the clinic was there for
the benefit of those in its vicinity, but none were turned
away in the early days. Not surprisingly a large
proportion of the clinic’s stock of drugs for a year
were used up in a month.
The primary purpose of the clinic
was and is to offer a mother and child health unit with a
strong emphasis on the prevention of disease. Although it
has in effect become a typical family general practice
catering for all family members, the emphasis on maternity
care, babies and children has been maintained, with
resources being made available for what is a low-income
catchment area. On a typical day between 50 and 100
patients will be seen: 70% of these are women (including
maternity), babies and children; 30% are men. Women and
children are seen 5 days a week, men 3 days.
Given the socioeconomic and health
data for the Yemen, it is encouraging that well over 50%
of infants have been immunised against tetanus, whooping
cough, polio and tuberculosis before they reach their
first birthday. Unfortunately this figure is not high
enough to justify WHO funding immunisation against
Hepatitis B, which looms as the greatest scourge of all.
Given also the constraints of underfunding, the medical
services in the Yemen are of the highest standards. The
Ras Morbat Clinic has been most fortunate to find total
cooperation and encouragement from all the health services
in the region, with whom it has been a privilege to
cooperate in immunisation campaigns.
The project leader is the vicar of
Christchurch and chaplain to seamen, the Rev Jim Wakerley.
Dr John Barclay, an adviser to the Aden medical school,
also assists in the establishment and running of the
clinic. The staff consists of a medical director, two
nurses (one Dutch and one Swiss, both of whom speak
Arabic), two receptionists and a dispenser (English).
Sadly, the medical director, Dr Malcolm Dunjey from
Australia, was invalided home this year with a serious
surgical condition threatening his return, but a series of
replacement doctors have maintained the clinic’s work in
Dr Harry K. Robertson,
MBChB, DRCOG, DTM&H is Locum Medical Director, Ras