An interview with Major General Taher Al-Soqatri, director of the Maritime Academy Several students were affected by Dengue Fever
Major General Taher Al-Soqatri, director of the Maritime Academy, said in an interview with the Yemen Times that the first and utmost problem facing the academy is accommodating the large number of students—there are 800 total—joining the academy each year.
He said student complexes are very crowded, and they don’t have enough bathrooms and kitchens.
He said 30 students suffered from Dengue Fever several months ago because of polluted drinking water, lack of mosquito nets and continuous power outages.
What authority does the Maritime Academy follow?
The academy is dependent financially and has an independent administration. It follows the Ministry of Defense.
The Maritime Department in the ministry supervises the work of the academy. We coordinate with them regarding training courses only, but there are plans to allow the department to supervise the academy totally.
Recently, several students were affected by Dengue Fever.
Would you explain what happened exactly?
Actually, several students suffered from Dengue Fever due to lack of mosquito nets and as a consequence of using unclean water. I demand that the Ministry of Defense stand by our side to face this problem.
How many students did the disease affect?
Thirty students, and they received treatment. However, the problem we faced is that the disease spread in the area, and some students suffered from Hemolysis.
Were any students in critical condition?
Yes. A student named Ali Ashia was badly affected by the disease. He was in a coma, and the defense minister gave orders to send him to receive treatment abroad.
I want to assure that the other affected students were taken to the Military Hospital in Hodeida.
What were the procedures taken to combat the disease and its spread?
A medical team visited Hodeida governorate in general and the academy in particular. The team provided medicine and aid for the patients.
Moreover, international aid and aids provided by the Military Medical Services were used, and we are making progress.
I want to say that the Ministry of Defense, and the defense minister in person, are regularly following our situation.
The team covered pools of water, sterilized the complexes and did its best to stop the spread of the disease among students.
Is the Military Hospital able to provide treatment for the affected students and help to combat the disease?
In fact, the hospital needs support. I hope that the Military Medical Services Department will provide high quality medicine for the affected students according to instructions given by doctors.
The Military Hospital in Hodeida and also all hospitals need a professional medical cadre that can intervene and heal critical cases. Furthermore, The hospital needs labs to combat Dengue Fever.
Some students receive treatment in Al-Rasheed Hospital in Hodeida, and they foot the bill. How do you explain that?
As I said before, all students receive treatment in the Military Hospital. However, many students requested they be taken to Al-Rasheed Hospital because the Military Hospital is crowded and there are many patients.
I visited them and met the director of the hospital. Moreover, I received a list of the students’ names in Al-Rasheed Hospital and the costs of treatment, and I will do my best to work to solve this problem.
Why doesn’t the academy foot treatment bills for students?
We are given what we need by the Ministry of Defense. The academy has YR 135,000 allocated to it. Therefore, we can’t pay that.
Do you receive the same allocation as the Police Academy, Military Academy and Air Defense Academy?
Yes, the Ministry of Defense provides us with the same quantities of provisions and food staff, but I demand that the state treats all academies equally.
What do you think are the problems facing the Maritime Academy?
The academy faces an annual problem because many junior students join the academy, which causes problems for students because complexes become crowded.
We also suffer from a shortage of bathrooms and kitchens in the academy. Students use drinking water randomly; this causes problems, too. Furthermore, the continuous power outages cause problems for the students because the weather is hot, and students lack mosquito nets.
You said power outages spread disease. But it is rumored you have a generator large enough to light the academy, and the ministry provides you with oil. So why don’t you use it?
It is true that we have a generator, but the problem is that the ministry provided us with only 3,000 liters of oil, while we need 15 liters per hour. We sent letters to the ministry, and we received no response so far.
What do you in the academy need?
Currently, there is a plan to find maritime forces to face threats of pirates against our coasts. We need a professional cadre to protect them.
What is your message to all Yemenis?
I want to tell them to be careful about ideas of terrorism, which are targeted against Yemeni youth. I urge them to stand by the side of the state to protect Yemen.
Moreover, I want to say that water entrances play an important role in protecting the regional and international navigation lines, and we need to secure them.