HOMEDove siamoRepublic of Guinea (Guinea Conakry)

Guinea Conakry is surrounded by Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast and Liberia and it faces the Gulf of Guinea. It is a country of young people, 60% of the population is under 25 years old, and its population has grown considerably over the last years.

Although the Guinea Conakry is one of the richest countries in the world in minerals (bauxite, iron, gold, diamonds), it is near the bottom of the Human Development Index, 174th out of 189.

Infant and maternal mortality is high (the country ranks 14th in the world), the mothers are young (average 19 years old at their first pregnancy) and the fertility rate is high (average 4.92 children per woman). These factors are the effects of women having little power, the fact that they often have far less education than men and of widespread poverty. It is no coincidence that female genital mutilation is a common practice.

These aspects, together with limited literacy and poor vocational training affect young people’s job prospects, including graduates. It is estimated that 60% of young people are unemployed.

Currently over 85% of the population has access to healthcare in towns but this figure drops to 35% in the countryside, where the vast majority, over 65%, of the people live. The 2014-2015 Ebola crisis revealed the pre-existing weaknesses in the health system, not enough qualified healthcare staff, inadequate infrastructures, difficulty in receiving medical information and limited medication supplies. The problems with working in rural areas affects the implementation of essential treatments, including the specific ones for HIV/AIDS. Guinea Conakry is in fact of the most badly affected countries in the world. According UNAIDS data, 120,000 people live with AIDS, with a prevalence of 1.4% among adults, but over half of them still do not have access to the antiretroviral therapy. Every year AIDS causes 4,300 deaths.

DREAM in Guinea Conakry

In 2004 the Community of Sant’Egidio was recognised as an international NGO, authorised to work in the Republic of Guinea. That year an agreement was signed with the Guinean Ministry of Health to set up a DREAM centre in the capital in order to assist people with HIV/AIDS. The first centre in Conakry was opened in 2006, with a molecular biology laboratory that provides early diagnosis of HIV for children, also for healthcare centres that are far away.

The DREAM programme is integrated in the national strategic framework for the fight against AIDS defined by the CNLS (Comité National de Lutte contre le SIDA). DREAM is also involved in training technicians and healthcare professionals who work for the Ministry of Health, in hospitals or public institutions and in computerising the National Health System. The Community of Sant’Egidio has also established relationships with various national and international organisations over the years.

The Community currently works in Guinea in 4 DREAM centres.

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