Guinea: Health Ministry Should Provide Inclusive Diphtheria Response


After disappearing for over 30 years in Guinea, cases of diphtheria are on the rise, and the government needs to step in to curb the outbreak.

Development Diaries reports that Guinea is facing a shortage of vaccines for the disease and lacks health professionals with knowledge of treating the disease.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that attacks the respiratory tract. Airborne droplets transmit it and can be fatal, especially for small children.

If an antitoxin is not administered quickly, the fast-growing pseudomembrane can soon block an infected person’s airways, leaving them struggling to breathe. It can be life-threatening.

The lack of resources to tackle the disease is a big challenge that must be addressed immediately to avoid a health crisis in the West African country.

‘We lack health professionals who know how to recognise and treat this disease’, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Deputy Medical Coordinator, Charles Tolno, said.

‘The treatment is complex and requires a lot of resources, especially in terms of the antitoxin’s availability. Given its scarcity, we have no choice but to be selective in giving it to patients with the most severe symptoms’.

While development partners are providing crucial support in response to the outbreak, the government of Guinea must step up efforts to address the situation.

Development Diaries calls on the Guinean Ministry of Health to intensify its support for providing adequate medical facilities and training for medical workers.

We also urge development partners working in the country to collaborate with the government to ensure an inclusive response to the diphtheria outbreak is achieved.

Photo source: MSF


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