Houthi militias in Yemen have gone beyond the pale by seizing 20% of the financial income of hospitals; clinics; and medical laboratories working in Sanaa. The Iran-backed guerrillas will funnel the collected funds to their senior leaders.
The arbitrary measure follows Houthis demanding that major hospitals and clinics; as of August; start paying the salaries of hundreds of its fighters; well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat under conditions of anonymity.
For the last two weeks; Houthi militants staged a far-reaching campaign that saw them install surveillance cameras over accountants' offices in over 80 private hospitals; 960 public clinics; 195 medical laboratories; and 890 private clinics.
The absurd monitoring system is also meant to help the Iran-backed militia tighten its grip over the finances of the health sector and discover if institutions are hiding any revenues from the group.
Meanwhile; health workers in Sanaa affirmed that the campaign could not come at a worse time; given that the sector still is suffering from systematic targeting and extortion.
As for the latest levy imposed on health facilities; Houthis demand that 20% of total income be paid as "Khumus" to their leader's family.
"Under many pretexts; Houthis have launched widespread campaigns against health sector facilities. In one of the campaigns; more than 110 private medical centers were closed in Sanaa and other areas run by the group;" sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Health workers and local reports have affirmed that the Houthi systemic targeting of the sector had triggered a hike in hospital and clinic fees; impacting the lives of thousands of Yemeni patients.
Moreover; Houthis have raised the fees for health sector licensing.
Each doctor now needs to pay 40;000 Yemeni rials to the group to practice medicine in areas of their control. Before the coup; medical practitioners paid the state a fee of 1;500 Yemeni rials.