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Ebola training in Guinea

From 29.10. – 31.10.2014, Health Focus Guinea has conducted an Ebola training of trainers (ToT) in the city of Kindia, in the South-West of Guinea. Medical staff from the University hospitals in Conakry (Donka and Ignaz Deen), and from District hospitals in Kindia, Labé and Forecariah participated in the training. It is expected that they replicate the training with colleagues in their services.
Participants learned about the Ebola infection, its incubation time, its signs and symptoms, the laboratory tests to be performed as well as about the clinical course of the disease. Beside theoretical knowledge they were familiarized with case management procedures, which range from patient triage and isolation to contacting the hotline and organizing the transport of suspect patients to one of the two Guinean Ebola treatment centres. The training has also a very practical component; health workers learned how to dress and undress their protection wear. Undressing is one of the most critical moments after contact with an Ebola patient.
With growing numbers of Ebola cases, health workers urgently wait for a rapid test that would allow a quick decision on how to proceed with a patient. This is also felt by the personnel of Health Focus’ affiliate, the Laboratoire Guineo Allemand, in Conakry. The Ebola training was first developed as an in-house strategy to deal with the epidemic.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa started in Guinea, in a region which shares border with Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Institute Pasteur in Lyons in France confirmed the first Ebola case in April 2014, but the epidemic must have started as early as November 2013. Underequipped health services with little qualified and underpaid personnel were hit by the deathly infection without forewarning. Ebola appeared for the first time in this part of Africa. While the health systems in Sierra Leone and Liberia are detoriated due to the long lasting civil war in both countries, Guinea was excluded from international support for almost a decade due to political crises. Although rich in mineral resources (e.g. gold, diamonds, iron or, bauxite), all three countries share places on the list of the poorest countries of the world (Liberia place 4, Guinea place 13, Sierra Leone place 24).