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MSF in Guinea, 2006
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International Staff: 27
National Staff: 367
The people of Guinea live in a country with significant poverty and periodic instability, leading to a lack of healthcare. Even when patients can get to a health center and afford to pay for medical services, shortages of medicines and supplies means they may have to go without effective treatment.
This is frequently the case for those with malaria, which accounts for about 30 per cent of hospitalizations country-wide. Through its projects in Dabola, MSF has confirmed that artemisinin derivatives (ACT) are the most effective drugs for the illness. MSF continues to offer rapid testing and ACT for malaria at Dabola hospital and the nine health centers of Dabola prefecture, where 4537 people were treated for malaria in the first half of 2006. Although the government now intends to use ACT, it has been unable to provide the drugs because of a lack of funding.
Helping large numbers of refugees
Over the past decade, Guinea has become host to tens of thousands of refugees from neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone. Whilst the majority of refugees have been repatriated, some remain in camps, where MSF provides healthcare to them and the surrounding Guinean host population. In Forest Guinea, MSF works in the Lainé camp near N'zérékoré, home to approximately 19,000 Liberians. In addition to primary healthcare, voluntary HIV/AIDS counselling and testing was introduced in January 2006, and in mid-April the first patient was put on antiretroviral medications (ARVs).
MSF also runs a comprehensive HIV/AIDS program of counselling, testing and treatment in Conakry and Guéckédou. Drugs and medical material are provided to enable treatment of severe opportunistic infections. MSF has also trained counsellors and lab technicians and supplied health centers with HIV test kits. By the end of June 2006, 850 patients were receiving life extending ARVs.
Responding to infectious disease outbreaks
MSF assisted the Ministry of Health (MOH) in August 2005 to address a cholera outbreak in Boké and Conakry, by setting up three cholera treatment centers (CTC) in Conakry and treating more than 3000 patients. In Boké, MSF provided medical supplies. A second cholera emergency began in February 2006 in the Forest Guinea region, where MSF treated 1171 suspected cases.
In early January 2006, MSF conducted a three-week long vaccination campaign following an outbreak of yellow fever in the Boké area, and immunised 369,000 people. In May, following a meningitis outbreak in the prefecture of Mandiana, MSF immunised 175,000 people.
Handover of tuberculosis project
Actively involved in Guinea's National program for the Fight Against Tuberculosis since 1988, MSF has trained doctors and health workers to better manage TB, supplied drugs and laboratory equipment, and increased awareness of the disease. In 2005, MSF handed over its last activities in the Conakry region to the Ministry of Health. MSF is now focusing only on TB patients co-infected with HIV/AIDS.
MSF has worked in Guinea since 1984.