The Saydaliyyah – Around the Town In Sana’a

A saydaliyyah is a pharmacy.

Unlike in the US, grocery stores typically do not sell medicine other than maybe pain pills or a stomach medicine, here and there.

Like the itasaalat, maktabahs, and baqaalun, saydaliyyahs are not hard to find;  here, they go  one better than “there’s one on every corner.”  You will find several on any given, well traveled street.

What’s a saydaliyyah like?

The saydaliyyahs range in size from a small room to the size of maybe a small convenience store, most are on the small side, though.

How does a saydaliyyah work?

You can get a prescription from a doctor (tabeeb, doktoor) or just walk in and ask for something. 

If your family member is hospitalized, you will probably have to go to a saydaliyyah to get the prescription filled yourself. The hospital shoudl have its own saydaliyyah, but they might be out of, or not carry, what you need, so be prepared to go off hospital grounds to get it, though typically there will be saydaliyyahs not to far (within walking distance) of the hospital (mus-tash-fa).

All the saydaliyyahs I have been to have had a counter that extends across the width of the store so you have to request what you need.

Sometimes you can tell the pharmacist your problem and he can recommend something.

What do saydaliyyahs typically sale?

Besides medicine, you can typically buy beauty and hygiene products such as Q Tips (called cotton buds on the labels), hair dye, combs, toenail clippers, tweezer, lotion, soap, etc.




We save the instructions pages that come in the medicines so that if we run out and the pharmacist doesn’t seem to have a clue what we are talking about, we can show the paper.

Also, brush up on names of ailments in Arabic as much as you can.  I’ll list ones I have come across on TJ Yemen, insha Allah.

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