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Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Access to healthcare is severely limited due to a lack of facilities, resources and qualified staff.

A former Portugese colony, the West African country of Guinea-Bissau is home to 1.9 million people.

Since independence in 1974, the country has been subjected to considerable military and political upheaval.

The country is one of the largest producers of cashew nuts, which provides a modest living for farmers and is the main source of foreign exchange.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first worked in Guinea-Bissau in 1998. Our work in the country involves responding to endemic and epidemic diseases.

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MSF's work in Guinea-Bissau: 2018

Médecins Sans Frontières runs a project in the country’s only tertiary facility, Simão Mendes national hospital, in the capital, Bissau, focusing on child health. Our teams manage paediatric emergencies and inpatient therapeutic feeding, as well as paediatric and neonatal intensive care. 

Respiratory infections, malaria, diarrhoea and meningitis are the main diseases affecting children in Guinea-Bissau; for newborns, asphyxia and neonatal sepsis are the principal causes of death. We have established a functioning 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 are now working towards introducing more technical or sophisticated treatments, which require better trained medical staff and more specialised equipment, to treat more complex and critical patients. 

Measles vaccination in Bafata, Guinea-Bissau

In April, we closed our project in the central region of Bafatá, having successfully reinforced the local health services in the area. Since 2014, we had been managing the paediatric services and nutrition programme for children under the age of five at the regional hospital, supporting health centres in rural areas and training community health workers to diagnose and treat malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. We had also set up a referral system for patients requiring hospital treatment.

 find out more in our international activity report >