In 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to support the Guinean Ministry of Health to provide care for 12,500 patients on lifelong antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
In the capital, Conakry, we run testing, treatment and follow-up services for stable HIV patients through eight health centers, and provide specialized care for AIDS patients in a 31-bed unit in Donka hospital.
In Guinea in 2018, we started a program whereby stable patients get drug refills and check-ups every six months rather than monthly, helping to reduce the impact of stigma and improve adherence to treatment. We also helped stock the national pharmacy with ARV drugs when interruptions to the supply put patients in our care in jeopardy.
In Kouroussa, in the northeast, we continued the rollout of a child health program initiated in 2017, providing staff and logistical support to the provincial hospital, which serves a population of 315,000. In 2018, over 3,000 under-fives were admitted, more than half of them with severe malaria.
As part of an ongoing strategy to prevent children from developing complicated diseases and reduce child mortality, in 2018 we focused on the early provision of care at community level. Thanks to 120 specially trained community volunteers, 8,819 children were diagnosed with malaria using rapid tests, and more than 90 percent were treated directly in the community. The volunteers also measure children’s arms for signs of malnutrition and identify those who need to be referred to the closest health center – nine of which are supported by MSF.
We vaccinated more than 18,000 children in Kouroussa in response to an outbreak of measles in May, and launched a large-scale preventive vaccination campaign in collaboration with the Guinean health authorities in November following another increase in the number of cases. By 23 December, more than 74,000 children between six months and seven years old had been vaccinated.