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Saida Ahmad Baghili, 18, who has been affected by severe malnutrition, sits at a hotel in Sanaa, Yemen, December 6, 2016. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)


Emaciated teen whose heartbreaking photos made her the ‘face of famine’ in Yemen is recovering

December 7, 2016

Saida Ahmad Baghili, the 18-year-old Yemeni woman suffering from acute malnutrition when she was brought to Al Thawra hospital in late October, is on the mend and has made a remarkable, if shaky, recovery. Photos showing Baghili being carried into the hospital, slung over her uncle’s shoulder, and on a hospital bed looking to be on the verge of death, shocked the world and helped draw attention to Yemen’s largely overlooked famine. Some 14 million people there — half the nation’s population — reportedly lack access to adequate food amid a brutal civil war.

Baghili was one of those people. When she arrived at the hospital she was completely bedridden and in such a severe state that her body couldn’t handle eating. She was put on a diet that consisted only of juice, milk and tea. After weeks of treatment, she has made a significant recovery, but still has a long way to go and is still unable to eat solid food.

Baghili has been receiving specialist care at the hospital. Doctors determined that her severe malnutrition, which she’s suffered with for years, has damaged her throat, making it nearly impossible for her to eat. “We admitted Saida to find out the cause of her inability to eat and it’s clear that she suffers from severe malnutrition,” Wasfi al-Zakari, the doctor overseeing her care, told Reuters. “Her health remains chronic, and her bones remain fragile due to stunted growth. In all likelihood, they will never return to normal.”

Still she’s made a remarkable improvement, Baghili’s father, Ahmed, said, noting that she’s gained a significant amount of weight since being admitted to the hospital. She’s even been able to muster the occasional smile on her road to recovery.

Officials say the civil war, which has been going on for more than 20 months in Yemen, has cut off much of the country from receiving proper food.

Read the full story at Reuters and watch this Reuters video.