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MSF in Guinea-Bissau, 2008
Field Staff: 7
Reason for Intervention:
All articles on Guinea-Bissau »
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) mounted an emergency response to a cholera epidemic in Guinea-Bissau. An outbreak of the highly contagious bacterial disease was first detected in May, and by July the government had declared an emergency and requested international assistance.
Cholera can spread rapidly through contaminated water and is endemic in Guinea-Bissau, where there is no sewage system and access to clean drinking water is severely limited.
By the time MSF started work in August 2008, nearly 4,000 cases had been reported nationwide and 93 people had died. Bissau, the capital, was the area most affected, accounting for 70 percent of all registered cases. MSF staff helped the Ministry of Health to control the outbreak: teams of coordinators, nurses, logisticians, and epidemiologists took charge of treatment centers, strengthened local capacity, and improved early detection and treatment.
Mobile teams were deployed to improve water and sanitation provision and make home visits to patients.
MSF treated more than 8,000 people, and its sanitation and prevention strategies helped to contain the epidemic. By the end of November, MSF handed over the projects to local health authorities and other humanitarian organizations.
MSF worked in Guinea-Bissau from August to November 2008.