Why are we there?
- Armed conflict
- Endemic/epidemic disease
- Social violence/heath care exclusion
August 28, 2014
Since the Ebola outbreak began in March in Guinea, it has claimed 2,097 lives (as of September 5). The outbreak has spread beyond Guinea and now a total of four countries are affected: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
Admissions in our Guéckédou center has significantly increased in the last week, with a majority of cases coming from the Macenta area.
To cope, the team has expanded the center to 80 beds. Guéckédou was the initial epicenter of the outbreak, and the center has never had as many patients as it has had during recent days (currently 60 patients).
In Conakry, the capital of Guinea, we are running a 35-bed Ebola management center in Donka hospital. We have started training Ministry of Health (MoH) staff inside the facility in order for them to be able to be deployed to health facilities in other parts of the country.
This is an excerpt from MSF-USA's 2013 Annual Report:
The healthcare system in Guinea is currently unable to meet all the needs of its people. Malaria remains a particular concern.
Malaria is a preventable and treatable illness transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and is a leading cause of illness and death in the country. MSF has continued to work with the Ministry of Health on malaria prevention and treatment in Guéckédou, and the program now supports the district hospital, seven health centers, and 12 health posts. The MSF team has also trained 53 community health workers so that they can screen and treat people with uncomplicated malaria.
Although the prevalence of HIV is relatively low in Guinea, people who have the illness often cannot afford to pay the fees that are charged for antiretroviral drugs. Many HIV-positive people also fear disclosing their status due to the social stigma, and this creates another barrier to treatment. The HIV program based in the capital Conakry, comprising one MSF ambulatory treatment center and five health centers supported by MSF, offers a free, comprehensive health package that includes psychosocial care, tuberculosis treatment for co-infected patients, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
The HIV program in Guéckédou was handed over to the Ministry of Health in 2013, as was the Matam maternal health program.
Responding to cholera and meningitis outbreaks
During an outbreak of meningitis in May, an MSF team treated 132 patients, provided drugs to medical facilities, and trained local staff. In June, an emergency cholera treatment center was set up on Memgbe Island, Conakry. Eighty people who had contracted the water-borne disease were treated. There were no new cases or deaths after assistance had been provided.
At the end of 2013, MSF had 327 staff in Guinea. MSF has worked in the country since 1984.
David,* 25 years old, from Matam
I’ve been very sick for more than eight months. I went to a lot of health centers and hospitals here in Conakry. I tried everything, even traditional medical treatments. No one ever suggested an HIV test. Coming here, I was tested, and then told the news.
Nobody knows in my family except my uncle, who accompanies and supports me. These last months have been physically and emotionally exhausting.
*The patient’s name has been changed.