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Building Resilient Health Systems Support to Ebola Survivors and the National Health System Keeps Guinea Safe from Resurgence

The health care system in Guinea, along with the Ebola survivors whom it serves, is still recovering from the effects of the Ebola virus disease outbreak of 2014–2016. The Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) project is supporting post-Ebola surveillance and the rebuilding of the health system, while helping survivors access enhanced health services and reintegrate into their communities after devastating losses. In Guinea, the APC’ project is strengthening the health system by renovating and equipping targeted health facilities, training health workers to provide better services, facilitating reintegration of survivors into their communities through stigma reduction efforts, and connecting Ebola survivors with the specialty care they need.

With USAID-donated medicines distributed by APC, Dr. Goumou Eugene, head of the ophthalmology department at Ignace Deen Hospital in Conakry, can now provide better eye care for Ebola survivors. Photo by Kate Litvin/JSI.

Preventing Resurgence of Ebola with Community-based Surveillance

Every week, Ebola survivors come together with health workers and other community members in the hard-hit Kindia region. They are part of the district’s sentinel site committee, which monitors the health and well-being of the area’s Ebola survivors. APC has helped establish 60 sentinel sites across the country, which enable the Ministry of Health to monitor illnesses in the Ebola survivor community and beyond. The sentinel sites allow for early detection and rapid response in the event of a suspected case.

“Ebola did a lot of damage. But Ebola is gone. We are now fighting to prevent it.”

Following the epidemic, Ebola survivors have faced stigma in their communities and at health facilities when they seek care. Sentinel site committee members reach out to survivors and their communities to address stigma and follow up on reported health conditions. APC, through its local grantee International Medical Corps, has also conducted stigma-reduction trainings for community and religious leaders.

Members of the Maneah Sentinel Site Committee discuss how to help an Ebola survivor who is sick.

When an illness in the community is discovered, the sentinel site committee helps connect survivors with the health services they need.

Ebola Survivors Find Strength through the National Survivor Network

Himself an Ebola survivor, Dr. Mamadou Oury Diallo gave up his job as a surgeon to lead Guinea’s national network of Ebola survivor associations, Réseau National des Associations de Survivants d’Ebola de Guinée (RENASEG). Many survivors were shunned by their communities and left unemployed after recovering from Ebola. RENASEG and its member associations give survivors a unified voice as they work to rebuild their lives. APC and International Medical Corps work with RENASEG to develop leadership skills and organizational structures of the 23 member associations that represent Ebola survivors across the country.

“Survivors were fired from their jobs, some lost all of their resources.”

APC’s support has enabled RENASEG’s leadership to develop strategic and operational plans and to conduct advocacy, communications activities, and resource mobilization. With these new skills, RENASEG is able to help survivor associations across the country become more self-reliant.

Members of RENASEG meet regularly to find solutions to the problems faced by the country’s Ebola survivor community.
Fanta Cherif, Ebola survivor and treasurer of RENASEG.

Renovating and Equipping Key Health Facilities to Improve Patient Care

Guinea’s fragile health system was deeply affected by the Ebola outbreak, which exposed the need for basic infrastructure improvements. At the bustling Ignace Deen Hospital in Conakry, APC renovated restrooms, crumbling staircases, walls, and ceilings, making it a safer, more hygienic, and more welcoming environment for patients. With these improvements, the hospital can now practice infection prevention and control and provide better care for Ebola survivors and the general population.

“Now all the staff work in better conditions. This has improved the care for Ebola survivors.”

APC refurbished aging infrastructure, repairing windows, walls, flooring, ceilings, and roofs of eight health facilities in some of Guinea’s hardest-hit communities. APC also installed solar panels and electrical systems, fans and air conditioning, well pumps with water towers, and new bathroom facilities and plumbing fixtures.

At the renovated health facilities, health workers and patients now have access to clean water and functional toilets.
With new air conditioning in the storage room, Chief of Maneah Health Center Daloba Mara can be confident of the medicines’ efficacy.

APC also provided medical equipment to improve patient care at 23 health facilities. This included hospital beds and delivery tables, as well as basic tools such as stethoscopes, surgery kits, and thermometers. Additionally, six facilities received equipment for eye care, including slit lamps, ophthalmoscopes, and vision-testing charts.

The equipment that APC provided allows health workers to more effectively care for patients at the clinic. Photo by Kate Litvin/JSI.

About the Program

The Ebola Transmission Prevention & Survivor Services (ETP&SS) program, funded by USAID and implemented by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.’s APC project, supports recovery from the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Targeted interventions include improving access to health services for survivors by training health workers, renovating and equipping selected health facilities that see a high volume of Ebola survivors, reducing stigma among health care providers and community leaders, and building health system capacity for specialized services.

In Guinea, the ETP&SS program works with the National Agency for Health Security (ANSS), in collaboration with international organizations and other stakeholders, to implement the Ministry of Health’s national plan to mitigate the risk of Ebola resurgence. By working in partnership with the ANSS, APC’s interventions have improved health outcomes of the people of Guinea and strengthened the health system’s resilience and ability to prevent future outbreaks.

Our Partners

All photos taken by Eidolon Films unless otherwise noted.

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