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
- An Unprecedented Year: MSF's Response to the Largest-Ever Ebola Outbreak
- MSF's Month in Focus: March 2015
- The Ebola Outbreak One Year Later
- Financial Accountability: Ebola Response in 2014
- Ebola in West Africa: Selected MSF-Authored Medical Articles
This is an excerpt from MSF's 2015 International Activity Report:
MSF continued to respond to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, supporting Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) and assisting with safe burials, health promotion, community surveillance and contact tracing.
A year into the outbreak, it was evident that new ways of fighting the disease were necessary, and MSF was involved in research studies to find them. These included a vaccine trial targeting frontline workers in the capital Conakry, and the towns of Forécariah and Coyah, and people who had been in contact with newly confirmed cases. MSF also started an infection study, looking at which bodily fluids are more at risk of transmitting the disease and for how long after recovery.
Between January and March, MSF set up a rapid-response mobile team that could travel to wherever new Ebola cases were reported, quickly analyse the needs and propose an adapted approach. This team was deployed twice, to Faranah and Kissidougou.
In April, the ETC in Guéckédou was closed and what was formerly a Ministry of Health transit center (set up with the support of MSF) in Forécariah was converted into an ETC by the French Red Cross. MSF supported the transfer of patients and ongoing work to identify new cases and conduct outreach activities.
In July, MSF opened new ETCs in Nongo, an area of Conakry, and the city of Boké. The center in Nongo had capacity for 72 beds, and activities were transferred to this new site from Donka hospital. The result was an improvement in treatment standards and a greater focus on innovative solutions in patient care, such as scanning patient files using a camera in order to transfer them from a high- to a low-risk area.
The end of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea was declared on 29 December. Since it started in March 2014, there had been 3,804 reported cases and 2,536 confirmed deaths, of which 110 were health workers.
Adherence to HIV treatment
The Ebola epidemic had acute consequences for people living with HIV, who need uninterrupted, life-long care. Many patients abandoned their treatment because they feared going to health facilities and contracting Ebola. MSF addressed this issue and sought to mitigate the risk of infection by implementing a six-month refill strategy (R6M) between April and June 2014. This meant stable patients needed to come only twice a year to pick up their medicine. Thanks to this strategy, over 90 per cent of HIV patients under R6M were still under treatment by March 2015; other healthcare providers reported significantly lower adherence.
HIV prevalence in Guinea is relatively low, affecting 1.7 per cent of the population. However, at the moment only one in four people living with HIV is on antiretroviral treatment. MSF has been providing high-quality HIV care in Guinea since 2003; this has included implementing strategies like R6M, and ensuring viral load monitoring is available to patients (an important laboratory measure of HIV in the blood that can indicate treatment success or failure). MSF currently manages a mid-level facility in Matam where a few beds are available for simple cases, and provides mentoring and training to support six health centers where HIV care is offered alongside other basic health services. In total, MSF works with a fifth of all people under treatment for HIV in the country.
 New cases of Ebola were declared in Guinea in March 2016
Ebola in Guinea: An Unprecedented Epidemic
At the end of 2015, MSF had 732 staff in Guinea. MSF has worked in the country since 1984.
Baby Nubia – the last Ebola patient in Guinea
No one expected a baby who had been born with Ebola to survive for long. Previously, no babies born to infected mothers had been known to live for more than a few hours. Despite the poor prognosis, and the challenges of caring for a newborn in an isolation zone while wearing protective clothing, the medical team were determined to save her. Nubia was given two new experimental drugs and gradually her condition improved. One month later, tests showed that she had beaten the virus and on 28 November she was discharged.
*The patient’s name has been changed.