After years under the socialist regime and a military junta, the 2010 elections restored the civil power in Guinea that however continues to be fragile. In addition, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone sought refuge in this West African country during civil unrest, adding a weight to the fragile country and leading to inter-ethnic tensions and border attacks. The maternal mortality rate is quite high, which is partly explained by a low rate of skilled attendants at delivery, estimated at 45 %.
Furthermore, there is a large disparity in access to skilled care between rural and urban areas, in which more than 70% of the population reside in rural areas.
The 2014-2016 Ebola crisis devastated the country that was already struggling with high rates of infant and maternal mortality. Now, Guinea is working to rebuild its crumbled health infrastructure.
WAHA International has been present in Guinea since 2011 with the goal of strengthening the maternal and child healthcare system. We established partnerships with the Guinean Ministry of Health, the University Teaching Hospital Ignace Deen and the National Association of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons to ensure that women received quality obstetric fistula treatment. Since then we have provided many hundreds of fistula operations and we have recently expanded fistula treatment activities to Boke and Labe regions.
Maternal and child health support
Supporting the Guinean health system to ensure essential maternal and child health services, we supported hospitals and health centers in Conakry, Beyla, Boke and Forecariah regions through training, and the provision of essential infrastructure.
Alongside this, we provided motorbike ambulances for referral, in order to ensure emergency transport options in particular for obstetric emergencies.
RESPONSE TO FACE EBOLA
WAHA’s Ebola response
With the resurgence of the Ebola virus disease in early 2014, WAHA rapidly implemented a suitable health response to face the epidemic, where Guinea was one of the countries the worst hit by the virus.
Beyla Ebola Treatment Center
Throughout the Ebola epidemic, we ensured the management and daily operation of the Ebola treatment center in Beyla, in the southeast of the country.
We successfully implemented our custom developed Ebola Care Units, low-cost tent-based shelters, which allowed for individual isolation of suspected cases and thus reduced the transmission risks between suspected patients. They also enabled healthcare workers to carry out medical acts (including management of the drip, cleaning the patients, administering medications, taking temperature and blood pressure etc.) from outside the tent through built-in rubber gloves, without direct exposure to the patient.
We coordinated trainings in schools to rely the message to teachers and students on basic preventive measures and best practices for suspected case identification and referral. WAHA has educated primary, secondary, and university school teachers throughout Guinea, as well as school personnel and community leaders. Furthermore, WAHA has provided schools in Boké, Kindia, and Conakry with hand washing equipment, hygiene products, and forehead thermometers.
Health worker training
We organized trainings on infection prevention control for local health workers and mentoring tailored to the specific prevention requirements of the epidemic.
Health system capacity building
WAHA supported the Guinean health system in developing safe Ebola patient identification and referral systems and ensuring the safety of patients and health workers throughout the different levels of the health system. In view of rebuilding the health system, and supporting preparedness and resilience for future infectious disease outbreaks, we supported primary and secondary health facilities in Beyla, Yomou, Kindia, Forecariah, Boké and Conakry to ensure save patient triage and strengthen infection prevention control mechanisms. As such we carried out refurbishment works and provided equipment and medical supplies to the health facilities.
We continued our support of healed Ebola patients, ensuring they have access to essential medical care.