Guinea is a middle-sized West African country and ranks amongst its poorest. It is one of the major countries of origin of migration. Despite this situation, the country has significant economic potentials. In addition to its massive hydrological resources, the country has a rich mining potential (one third of the world's reserves of bauxite, gold, diamond, iron, manganese, zinc, cobalt, nickel, and uranium).
Continuing political unrest through 2019/20 has left the Guinean Government faced with two major challenges, namely: maintaining the course of economic reforms, while ensuring social and political stability.
The first contact for the population with Guinea’s health system is structured around providing primary health care at district level. The Ebola virus epidemic (2013-2016) severely exacerbated existing stress points in the provision of care.
The Universal Health Care (UHC) Partnership Guinea supported the adoption of a National Health Policy in 2015 and a National Health Development Plan for 2015-2024. The country regularly faces serious sanitary crises: such as the Ebola crisis with a recent resurgence, Lassa fever, yellow fever, and measles. There are mounting fears about Guinea’s vulnerability to the spread of coronavirus. Maternal and neonatal mortality rate are also high, and the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is only 3.
It is against this background that the European Union formulates its development cooperation and assistance programmes and projects. Improving the health sector, particularly in maternal and child healthcare, ranks as one of the EU’s leading development priorities in Guinea.
PASA 2 (Projet d’Appui au renforcement du système de la Santé en République de Guinea) the ‘Health System strengthening and Support Project’ follows on from its predecessor (PASA), extending the regions of intervention, in continuing efforts at making the health service more effective.
It aims at improving access to essential quality care, focussed particularly on improving reproductive, maternal and child health care servicesas well as community health.
Working with GIZ and Expertise France, with a combined budget of over EUR 26 million, the programme’s principal objectives are:
- Improving the performance of the ministry of health in terms of governance, financial management and human resources management;
- Increasing the use of health services by mothers and children;
- Improving health infrastructures.
COVID-19: Training of medical personnel in prevention and control of the virus
As part of its global assistance, the European Union earmarked EUR 6 million, for the response to the coronavirus epidemic in Guinea, under a contract signed with the NGO Alima.
An accompanying press release announced: “The 6-month project will support the National Health Security Agency , firstly in the management of COVID-19 cases, prevention and control of the infection, and secondly to limit the spread and impact of the pandemic on the health system”.
EU funding allowed:
- Training on triage, and the diagnosis of acute respiratory infections in the context of COVID-19, for 44 doctors and medical staff;
- Training on standard and complementary precautions, bacterial and basic hygiene in a health structure for 10 doctors and 16 nurses;
- Training in psychological distress management for 29 doctors and nurses:
- Training in the use of new machines for 8 staff from the CT Donka laboratory.
Nearly 1,700 patients have already benefited from this initiative, which targets 3,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Guinea.
The EU initiated other COVID-19 projects, with EUR 14.3 million directly in the area of health and an addition EUR 9 million in the area of food security and economic impact reduction during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, on 11 April 2021, Guinea received 194,400 vaccines doses trough the COVAX facility, and the envisaged deliveries have a total volume of 864,000 vaccine doses to Guinea.
The project allowed to detect Covid-19 infections at early stages, making sure patients were treated by the medical staff before the situation could worsen.
Among the beneficiaries, Daouda Kone. He took the COVID-19 test at work. On the first test, Daouda's result was negative, but on the second test it was positive. Daouda, who suffered from a cough which seemed relatively normal to him, was surprised to learn of this result.
He was asked to be hospitalized at the COVID-19 treatment centre in Donka. During his hospitalization, Daouda then developed fever. Seven days after his admission, the test showed that he was still carrying the virus. Ever optimistic, he salutes the work of nursing staff.
“I testify today that our doctors assist us very well, and really they do everything they can to make us healthy.” Daouda Kone