Founder of the Yemeni Red Crescent and the unifying force in the country’s healthcare system
Abdullah Alkhamesi, who has died aged 76, set up the Yemeni Red Crescent (YRC) in the 1970s and, as one of Yemen’s first and leading doctors, was responsible for the unification of the country’s healthcare system in 1990. In a place that has experienced decades of instability and war, and has been beset by corruption, his was a voice of integrity relied upon by international aid agencies to carry out their work.
Between 1962 and 1970, North Yemen was torn apart by civil war between royalist and republican factions. Abdullah’s work treating casualties, and a desire to help patients who could not afford private treatment, led to him setting up a room at his clinic for the international Red Crescent to provide all types of care, not only emergency relief. As the organisation’s support grew, he stopped his private work and set up the YRC in 1973. As the organisation’s general secretary he introduced ambulances, 24-hour clinics and emergency call-lines to Yemen.