Guinea: MSF supports national TB programme

National staff : 300 International staff : 18 Since 1988, MSF has supported the national programme to combat tuberculosis (TB) by supplying medicine and laboratory material to health structures. The national TB programme covers the whole country and is run out of 33 anti-tuberculosis centres in 33 prefectures. The government has adopted the Directly Observed Treatment Short course chemotherapy (DOTS) strategy to combat TB. This is the most effective currently available because it reduces the numbers of patients who become multi-drug resistant. MSF supports the government initiatives in the western prefectures of Mamou and Labé where there is a population of 2.5 million. MSF is also involved in the rehabilitation and the direct supervision of the TB treatment centres in these prefectures as well as in the capital. In Conakry, other than the city TB control centre, MSF supervises 16 satellite centres which bring medical care to people living on the outskirts of the city. This project aims at screening and treating the greatest number of patients possible. MSF has a 12 year history of trying to re-energise the health system of Guinée Forestière. Results have been mixed. MSF continued to work in N'zerekore Hospital until the end of June 1999 at which time the project drew to a close. MSF is currently reflecting on possibilities for future assistance in this region. There are an estimated 400,000 Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees in Guinea today. Although many of the Liberians are being repatriated, the number of Sierra Leoneans has increased. As many as 160,000 arrived in Guinea after the attack on Freetown at the end of 1998. The UNHCR set up a camp for them in Gueckedou South where MSF provided medical assistance. However, they had to be moved because of rebel attacks on the camp from across the border. MSF also provides medical assistance in the Forecariah region Southeast of Conakry, to 55,000 Sierra Leonean refugees. After the attack on Freetown, 15,000 new refugees also arrived in this area. Once again there were rebel incursions in these border camps and the refugees had to be moved. MSF provides primary health care and water and sanitation assistance.