Trip of a Lifetime: From Near Death to Full Recovery

Published Date: 
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Aden – Twenty-one-year-old Ahmed started his journey from his home country of Ethiopia with one goal in mind: to reach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and find work so he can provide for himself and his family.

He is one of many young Ethiopians who took this journey despite the risks of injury and even death along the way.

“I decided to travel to Saudi after I heard from other Ethiopian men that we can make good money working there,” said Ahmed.

“I did not know that I would lose my health and would not be able work and collect money.”

When he began, he did not know the trip would be so difficult. He spent two months travelling from

Ethiopia to Somalia, then from Somalia to Yemen. He then walked for several days to reach the border with KSA.

“When I reached the border, we were shot at. Many migrants were killed, and I was shot in my left leg. I could not move or run.”

“I was carried to a hospital in Sa'ada and I spent four days there suffering in real pain without any treatment. They eventually moved me to a better hospital where I spent a month and half.”

Migrants undergo health exams at IOM’s Migrant Response Point in Yemen. Photo: Majed Mohammed / IOM 2021

Many migrants passing through the country struggle to access healthcare in Yemen, where only half of health facilities are fully functional.

While he was in the hospital, Ahmed did not have any money to pay for the necessary check-ups and medicine. He had no choice but to leave the hospital after a month and half.  Unable to walk and without a place to go, he relied on the help of other Ethiopians to move to Al Jawf where he hoped to find support.

“I was sleeping on the street under a tree and ate the leftovers that people collected from the restaurants. I was dying slowly from hunger and pain.”

Out of compassion and solidarity, a group of Ethiopian migrants collected money to help him reach Aden. One Ethiopian migrant there told him about the services provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“Everything changed for me when a friend told me about an organization that provides healthcare for migrants. I asked him to help me reach them.”

“I was so relieved when he told me that medical staff would come take me to the hospital.”

An IOM medical staff checks Ahmed’s leg at the Migrant Response Point in Aden. Photo: Majed Mohammed / IOM 2021

The IOM health team transported him to the Migrant Response Point (MRP) where Ahmed received the intensive treatment that he needed to get his health back on track.

“The medical staff followed my health condition every day and found me a clean and safe place to stay after I improved. I feel much better now,” said Ahmed.

“Ahmed came to the MRP in a very bad condition. We took him to the hospital and made sure he received the proper treatment. We kept checking on him every day until he recovered,” said Dr. Hassan Faddaq, IOM doctor at the MRP.

IOM, with support of EU Humanitarian Aid, provides comprehensive healthcare to vulnerable migrants at its MRPs. Assistance includes consultation for sick migrants, health education, mental health and psychosocial support, vaccination, reproductive health care and referrals for further treatment to other facilities.

IOM also refers migrants to foster families who provide them with accommodation, meals, psychosocial support and medical observation and follow up until they complete their treatment.

This story was written by Majed Nadhem, IOM Yemen Communications Assistant.