Despite an abundance of mineral wealth, Guinea's people are among the poorest in West Africa.

MSF in Guinea 2015

8,100 patients on first-line ARV treatment
3,800 individual and group mental health consultations
230 patients treated for haemorrhagic fevers
732 MSF staff
£16.7 million expenditure

The country has rich deposits of bauxite, diamonds and gold, but due to political instability and a lack of infrastructure, little of this wealth reaches Guinea's population.

Ruled by strong-arm leaders for much of the time since its independence from France in 1958, Guinea has been seen as a bulwark against instability in neighbouring Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. However it has also been implicated in the conflicts that have ravaged the region.

Along with Sierra Leone and Liberia, Guinea was pushed to the forefront of the world stage in 2014 as the devastating Ebola outbreak spiralled out of control - originating in Guinea itself.

MSF first began working in the country in 1984.

Patient story

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.

Staff story

Mariano Lugli, coordinator of MSF's project in Conakry

“MSF has intervened in almost all reported Ebola outbreaks in recent years, but these outbreaks were much more geographically contained and involved more remote locations, as opposed to urban areas.

"The vast geographic spread of the Guinea outbreak is worrisome because it will greatly complicate the tasks of the organisations working to control the epidemic."

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MSF’s work in Guinea: 2015

MSF continued to respond to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, supporting Ebola management centres (EMCs) 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 new confirmed cases.

The entrance to the Gueckedou Ebola management centre in Guinea.

Ebola response

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 EMC in Guéckédou was closed and what was formerly a Ministry of Health transit centre (set up with the support of MSF) in Forécariah was converted into an EMC by the French Red Cross.

In July, MSF opened new EMCs in Nongo, an area of Conakry, and the city of Boké. The centre in Nongo had capacity for 72 beds, and activities were transferred to this new site from Donka hospital.

The end of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea was declared on 29 December (however, new cases of Ebola were declared in Guinea in March 2016).

Since it started in March 2014, there had been 3,804 reported cases and 2,536 confirmed deaths, of which 110 were health workers.

MSF staff dressing in personal protective equipment to enter the high risk zone at MSF Ebola management centre in Donka.

Adherence to HIV treatment

The Ebola epidemic had acute consequences for the people in Guinea 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 health providers reported significantly lower adherence.

Find out more in our 2015 International Activity Report.

Map of MSF activities in Guinea, 2015

At the end of 2015, MSF had 732 staff in Guinea. MSF began working in the country in 1984.

 

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