Why are we there?
- Armed conflict
- Endemic/epidemic disease
- Social violence/heath care exclusion
February 12, 2015
Since the Ebola outbreak began in March in Guinea, it has claimed 9,152 lives (as of February 12th). The outbreak has spread beyond Guinea and has affected a total of four countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
Following the decrease of new Ebola cases during the first four weeks of 2015, numbers in Conakry rose again, from nine confirmed cases on January 30 to 18 confirmed cases as of February 10. Moreover, with many of the country’s prefectures considered as “active,” the epidemic is still geographically spread out. New chains of transmission have been reported in areas previously considered as Ebola-free. MSF deployed rapid response teams that are able to quickly identify, investigate, and follow new cases and contacts, as well as quickly setting up isolation units within existing health structures. The number of unreported community death and unsafe burials remains concerning, especially in Conakry. Outreach activities, active surveillance, social mobilization, and training are ongoing in all projects.
Guinea: Latest MSF Updates
- "This Is Definitely Not the Time to Rest" on Ebola
- An Encouraging Decline in Ebola Cases, But Critical Gaps Remain
- Q&A: How Does MSF Care for Patients Suffering from Ebola?
- Clinical Trial for Potential Ebola Treatment Starts in MSF Clinic in Guinea
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.