COVID-19 has reached Guinea, and the virus is expected to spread at a racing pace. Sadly, Guinea is not prepared for this due to an overall lack of hygiene and education. Rigorous safety measures cannot be properly implemented or sustained due to Guinea’s lack of ability to transmit said information to its population.
The sanitary conditions are dramatic; too few have access to proper hygiene products like hand washing kits. Large families live in small households which puts the elderly at risk. Therefore, social distancing, which has proved to be an efficient solution in other parts of the world, is not viable in Guinea. These people cannot afford to stay home and not go to work, as missing even one daily salary can inhibit a family from buying food.
Faced with this dramatic situation, the government has reached out to the Institut International de Formation en Santé (IIST), our medical school, for support. The institute is considered to be on the forefront of healthcare treatment with the newly built vocational school treating more than 10.000 individuals just three years after its assembly. Evidently, the institute is challenged with the huge task it has been assigned and the responsibility it was given. Hence, we want to help the institute to successfully lead the Guinean response to the pandemic outbreak.
Several actions are being taken to limit the spread of the virus and raise awareness among the population, such as broadcasting prevention messages on the radio and organizing door-to-door awareness sessions. Moreover, the institute is currently training healthcare teams to follow necessary protocols, and reinforcing and adapting primary healthcare structures to expand the country’s capacities. The access to Télimelé is limited and controlled. The students of the medical school have installed checkpoints. At these checkpoints, travellers’ temperature is taken and their contact details are written down for the sake of contact-tracing. People showing COVID-19 symptoms, such as high temperature, are not allowed to enter — they are redirected to healthcare facilities or quarantined. The aim is to stop the virus from entering Télimelé, where a virus outbreak would have particularly disastrous consequences due to high population density. We as a Students for Project Misside want to support these measures financially, with the purpose of continuing to spread accurate information meticulously in Télimelé.
Furthermore, Students for Project Misside tries to support Télimelé through the building of a pharmacy. This pharmacy will ensure a stable supply of medicine, ultimately, providing improved access to treatment for the population in Télimelé. The pharmacy has the potential to support the region in battling COVID-19, as it will contain storage facilities and can act as a distribution center for masks and hand sanitizer. Moreover, it has the potential to serve alongside the hospital as an information centre to educate and raise awareness. Since the severity of a COVID-19 infection increases when accumulated with other diseases, the pharmacy will play a pivotal role in saving lives through supplying dearly needed medicine for various other illnesses.
Trying to combat the lack of education and hygiene, posters which encompass the most important and easily comprehensible preventive actions to take to constrain the spread of the virus have been designed (see below). Ideally, they communicate a sense of urgency to the matter. These posters must aggressively spread on Social Media sites in order to reach the people in Télimelé. Printing and physically distributing them is unfortunately impossible due to a lack of printers and paper.
That is why the posters are incredibly important to spread accurate guidelines to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. Even the slightest measures, such as minimizing physical contact at work or when buying groceries can have a drastic impact on the speed at which the virus spreads, ultimately saving the lives of many Guineans.
The situation is difficult due to the extremely limited health infrastructure in place and an overall lack of needed material. The IIST is doing everything in its power to limit the spread of the virus and prepare the country to face this pandemic. Nonetheless, the hospitals are severely overcrowded, inhibiting the medical staff to deal with new patients. In addition, the process of seeking medical help when experiencing symptoms is not innate to Guineans, as they are associated with expensive and most often unaffordable cures. Unfortunately, Guinea won’t be able to beat COVID-19 by itself.
Luckily, many of the challenges which they are facing can be resolved by us. We believe that we can support the country and, more specifically, the hospital, to prevent a devastating ravage. The ravage has already begun, but by increasing the hospital’s capacities, training its medical staff, and educating the population, we can limit the death rate. The pharmacy, once built, can supply masks and other medicines needed. This situation calls for cooperation, humanity, and awareness. Thus, we ask you to donate via this link whichever sum you see fit or which you can expend to help support our cause. Even 5€ can completely change a Guinean fate. In Europe and all of the developed world, governments have the expertise and funds available to coordinate through these uneasy times. We see it as our responsibility to support a struggling country and its citizens to avoid a catastrophe.