Guinea: Helping refugees and treating infectious diseases

MSF has begun work to improve the care and treatment of Guineans living with diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In the capital city of Conakry and the Moyenne Guineé region, MSF trains local doctors and health workers to manage care for tuberculosis (TB) patients. Teams are working to improve detection and treatment of the disease and raise awareness about it. MSF has also set up a database to help health workers track TB patients who stopped taking treatment and to provide follow-up care. The organization currently provides TB drugs for 4,500 patients a year and supplies 15 TB laboratories. MSF has been actively involved in Guinea's National Program for the Fight Against Tuberculosis (TB) since 1988. In August 2003, MSF started providing care for people living with HIV/AIDS in Conakry and Guéckedou prefecture. Teams have opened free HIV testing and treatment centers. MSF offers care for opportunistic infections, provides treatment with life-extending antiretroviral (ARV) medicines and gives information on the disease. Currently, 250 patients are receiving care for opportunistic infections in Conakry and 150 obtain such care in Guéckedou. The MSF team started treating people with ARVs in July 2004 and hopes to have 200 people using ARV treatment by the end of 2004. Malaria is one of the leading causes of illness in the country. Health authorities currently promote drug treatments which are considered ineffective in many countries due to growing resistance to them. MSF is now conducting a resistance study in Dabola using two new artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT), more effective treatment that does not have the same problems with resistance. The study, carried out in cooperation with local health authorities, may lead to the opening of a pilot project introducing a more efficient treatment protocol to treat those with the disease. Since May 2003, MSF has conducted surgical activities at Macenta Hospital located near the Liberian border. MSF staff carried out more than 600 surgical interventions in 2003. In the first half of 2004, about one-third of the surgical procedures were done to alleviate gynecological and obstetrical problems. Staff also manage the water and sanitation systems for the 75-bed hospital. In N'zérékoré prefecture, MSF cares for refugees in Lainé camp which houses more than 22,000 people and Nonah camp where 3,700 people live. MSF staff members provide basic medical and maternity care, vaccinations and therapeutic feeding for malnourished women and children. In July 2004, MSF carried out 3,894 medical consultations in Lainé camp and 1,687 consultations in Nonah camp. Though MSF stopped its medical activities at Kuankan camp in August 2003, a new influx of Liberian refugees prompted MSF to restart them in February 2004. The MSF team provides water and sanitation for approximately 6,500 camp residents. In addition, MSF runs a clinic and dispensary. MSF plans to stay in Kuankan camp as long as refugees continue to need assistance. In August 2004, MSF closed a project that provided aid to refugees in Boreah camp in Kissidougou prefecture. Repatriation of Sierra Leone refugees in 2003 and 2004 greatly reduced the camps' populations and the need for help. Since 2001, MSF teams had provided medical consultations, fed malnourished women and children and provided water and sanitation facilities within the camp. In the same month, MSF also ended a project which entailed providing equipment and training to staff at Kissidougou Hospital to reduce HIV transmission through blood transfusions. MSF has worked in Guinea since 1984. International Staff: 30 National Staff: 414