Guinea

The world is facing an unprecedented crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic with many unknowns, which has led to much confusion and anxiety. Public health measures have for centuries been the cornerstone of the response to epidemics. Among them, physical distancing measures aim to reduce contact between infected and uninfected people. As part of the global COVID-19 response, they have been widely used to slow down the spread of the virus in several countries. Despite their overall acceptance, they have been poorly documented, particularly in Africa, and debates persist on their appropriateness and practicality in the context of low-income countries. This article describes the implementation of these measures in four West-African countries—Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Guinea—and discusses people’s willingness to comply with them. We describe these measures and discuss the importance of considering the socio-cultural, economic and political context to choose the most appropriate and effective measures and propose ways to explore strategies that are potentially better adapted to the African context.

In 2013, the Guinean health authority had to reorganise and run a national response against malaria as a priority. The review of the National Strategic Plan to fight malaria in Guinea was carried out and one of its critical components was the prevention and rapid management of fever (RMF) attributable to malaria in children. The study reports on the demographic and health determinants of this rapid management in children under 5. The participants were 4786 children from 2874 representative households. RMF was defined in terms of recourse to primary care. The recourse was defined by child's reference for the treatment of fever which led or not to treatment of malaria. We found that 1491 children (31.2%) had a bout of fever within the 2 weeks that preceded the survey. The prevalence of malaria was 45.4% among those children who have a bout of fever. The recourse to traditional healers was estimated at 9.6% and the use of health facilities was estimated at 71.5%. Overall, 74.9% of children with fever received treatment within the recommended timeliness (24 h), with regional disparity in this rapid response. The high proportion of recourse to traditional healers is still a matter of concern. New control and prevention strategies should be extended to traditional healers for their training and involvement in directing febrile children to health facilities.

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