There is a shortage of good-quality healthcare in Guinea-Bissau, particularly in rural areas.
A rudimentary health system is in place, but its poorly functioning facilities lack resources and a referral system, and access to them is unequal.
In the central Bafatá region, public healthcare is limited, the population is scattered and distances to the nearest health facilities are considerable. Mortality rates are therefore very high, and the average life expectancy is 48 years. Child and maternal mortality rates are particularly concerning. As an initial response to the high incidence of illness and death among young children, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened a project in Bafatá in November. Free basic paediatric care is offered at the health centres in the rural area of Tantan Cossé, Contuboel, and a team provides basic and specialist healthcare for children in the paediatric outpatient area and the paediatric ward of the regional hospital. Furthermore, the project aims to develop decentralised, community-based healthcare for young children, involving community health workers. This would help to address the identified barriers to access, and implement simpler diagnostic algorithms for children presenting with fever.
No. staff in 2014: 8 | Expenditure: €0.9 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1998 | msf.org/guineabissau