Guinea: Care for refugees in a volatile region

Armed conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia has ravaged this fragile region. In May 2002, MSF issued the report "Populations Affected by War in the Mano River Region of West Africa: Issues of Protection," which condemns the lack of protection and humanitarian assistance afforded the region's refugees and internally displaced persons. (See page 22 for excerpts from the report.) Guinea is now home to an estimated 190,000 refugees, and existing local health services cannot cope with the added pressure of a large refugee population. Although the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees organized the repatriation of many thousands of Sierra Leoneans over the last year, the bulk of them remain inside Guinea. MSF activities in Guinea remain strongly focused on providing medical screenings, primary health care and water and sanitation services for refugees and for resident Guineans in refugee areas. Around 55,000 refugees are installed in three camps near Albadaria and Dabola. MSF runs two health posts in Boreah camp, and provides clean water for both Telikoro and Boreah camps. MSF also cares for several thousand Sierra Leonean refugees in Sembakounya camp near Dabola. In April 2002 a new project running four mobile health clinics began in and around Macenta, a town of 25,000 that continues to receive a daily stream of new refugees. Since mid-2001, MSF has also aided around 6,000 Liberian refugees in Nonah transit camp near Yomou in Nzérékoré region and through six mobile clinics along the border. MSF also supports a health post in Tekoulu refugee transit camp and 13 public health centers for Guineans living in the remote Parrot's Beak border area of Guéckédou prefecture. On the road between Kissidougou and the capital Conakry, MSF runs two transit camps for Sierra Leonean refugees who have fled from southern Guinea and want to return to their country by boat. In addition, MSF provides medical care and psychosocial support for street children in Conakry, and supports a local NGO that runs three health centers. In rural Konkouré and Kégnéko prefectures, MSF has been training traditional birth attendants since mid-2000. MSF has fought tuberculosis (TB) in Guinea since 1988. Working with the national TB program, MSF's TB projects now cover 2 million people in Conakry and the prefectures of Mali, Koubia, Tougué and Dalaba. International staff: 34 National staff: 325