Guinea-Bissau. MSF emergency paediatric project in the national hospital in Bissau


Years of political instability and economic stagnation have had a serious impact on its crumbling health system.

In the central region of Bafatá, we work to reduce childhood mortality by managing the regional hospital’s neonatal and paediatric wards, and running a nutrition programme for children under 15 years of age.

Our teams also support several health centres in rural areas and train community health workers to diagnose and treat diarrhoea, malaria and acute respiratory infections.

We also work in the main paediatric hospital in the country, in the capital of Bissau, managing the intensive care unit (PICU) around the clock.

In 2020, MSF teams also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing training to medical staff.

Our activities in 2020 in Guinea-Bissau

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020.

MSF in Guinea-Bissau in 2020 For nearly six years, MSF has been working in Guinea-Bissau to improve paediatric care. In 2020, we ended our activities, handing many over to the health ministry.
Map of MSF activities in 2020 in Guinea-Bissau

Our overall objective in Guinea-Bissau was to reduce the number of deaths in the under-15 age group in areas of the country which had some of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. The main diseases affecting children are respiratory infections, malaria, diarrhoea and meningitis. Among newborns, the leading causes of death are asphyxia and neonatal sepsis.

We managed the 15-bed paediatric emergency room as well as the paediatric and neonatal intensive care units (with a total of 64 beds) in the country’s only tertiary facility, Simão Mendes national hospital, in the capital Bissau. We established a triage system in the paediatric emergency unit to guarantee faster and more efficient treatment.

We also supported Ministry of Health staff with management skills development and training, both for their regular activities and for the COVID-19 response.

Neonatal care requires many resources, but MSF proved it was possible to go beyond the basics, and treat the most complex and critical patients by introducing new protocols and technologies that are not usually in place in low-income countries.

When our teams left in June 2020, we handed over not only the facilities, but also biomedical equipment, pharmaceutical products, a specialist laboratory for emergency services, and a knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic team. 

in 2020
Guinea-Bissau. MSF emergency paediatric project in the national hospital in Bissau

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Guinea-Bissau. MSF emergency paediatric project in the national hospital in Bissau

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