Simao Mendes national hospital in Bissau, the capital of Guinea Bissau, emergency pediatric project. August 2018.

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by political instability for decades, resulting in a lack of development and weak public services. Healthcare is severely limited due to insufficient resources and qualified staff.

The focus of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) activities in Guinea-Bissau is pediatric care. The main diseases affecting children in the country are respiratory infections, malaria, diarrhoea and meningitis; for newborns, the principal causes of death are asphyxia and neonatal sepsis. Our teams manage the paediatric emergency room as well as the paediatric and neonatal intensive care units in the country’s only tertiary facility, Simão Mendes national hospital, in the capital, Bissau.

We have established a triage system in the pediatric 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 also support the Ministry of Health staff with training and management skills development.

Neonatal care requires many resources, but we have proved it is possible to go beyond the basics by introducing new protocols and technologies that are not usually in place in low-income countries. In order to address the needs of our most complex and critical patients, we have introduced new tools and technologies, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices for respiratory problems, incubators, C-reactive protein (CRP) tests for sepsis diagnosis, and specific infection prevention and control protocols.

No. staff in 2019: 247 | Expenditure in 2019: €4.0 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1998

 
Guinea-Bissau

“Simple diarrhoea can become a deadly disease for a child in Guinea-Bissau”

Voices from the Field 28 May 2015