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Guinea Bissau

Medical staff with a young patient in the Simao Mendes national hospital in Bissau, the capital of Guinea Bissau, where MSF runs an emergency paediatric project. 

No. staff in 2019: 247 | Expenditure in 2019: €4 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1998 |

Key medical figures:

  • 14,200 emergency room admissions
  • 2,370 patients admitted to hospital, including 1,430 newborns
  • 1,330 malaria cases treated

Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by political instability for decades, resulting in a lack of development and weak public services. Healthcare is severely limited due to insufficient resources and qualified staff.

The focus of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) activities in Guinea-Bissau is paediatric care. The main diseases affecting children in the country are respiratory infections, malaria, diarrhoea and meningitis; for newborns, the principal causes of death are asphyxia and neonatal sepsis.

Our teams manage the paediatric emergency room as well as the paediatric and neonatal intensive care units in the country’s only tertiary facility, Simão Mendes national hospital, in the capital, Bissau. We have established a triage system in the paediatric emergency unit to guarantee faster and more efficient treatment and have worked closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that the correct protocols and treatment procedures are implemented to reduce child mortality. We also support Ministry of Health staff with training and management skills development.

Neonatal care requires many resources, but we have proved it is possible to go beyond the basics by introducing new protocols and technologies that are not usually in place in low-income countries. In order to address the needs of our most complex and critical patients, we have introduced new tools and technologies, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices for respiratory problems, incubators, C-reactive protein (CRP) tests for sepsis diagnosis, and specific infection prevention and control protocols.


COVID-19 Coronavirus

Most of the world's countries have reported cases of coronavirus disease COVID-19 and MSF teams in over 70 countries are now racing to respond to the pandemic.  

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