Located at the heart of the Mano River Union (MRU), a region plagued by instability, Guinea has been a relatively stable, if impoverished, country. Guinea currently hosts more than 70 000 refugees, of whom close to 90% are living in camps. Other vulnerable groups include victims of gender-based violence, abandoned children and handicap¬ped persons. The already limited health system is now severely overstretched by the presence of the refugee populations. Geo¬graphical access is difficult and many health centres do not have ambulances for trans¬porting patients. Many health facilities also suffer from a lack of drugs, reagents and medical supplies as well as safe water.
Women and children are particularly vulner¬able. Maternal mortality is among the highest in the world. Nearly 99% of girls are subjected to female genital mutilation. Sexual abuse persists in the refugee camps. Child mortality in rural areas is high with diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and malaria being the major causes of death. Malaria is particularly prevalent in the areas around refugee camps.