Strengthening Guinea’s Health System

INTERVIEW For nearly 10 years, Expertise France has been supporting Guinea in strengthening its health system. With the PASA2 project coming to an end, the Guinean Minister of Health talks to us about the impact of this long-term collaboration.

With Dr. MAMADOU PÉTHÉ DIALLO, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene

What are the main challenges facing the Guinean health system?

In 2021, when the current government took office, the state of the health system was worrying. Our objectives were set clearly, with the desire to reconcile the people of Guinea with their health system, but also to recreate a process of mutual trust, respect, and conviviality between users and the health system.

Next, the quality of services needed to be improved and made more accessible to all Guineans. The training, skills, motivation, and work resources of health professionals also needed to be strengthened so that they could provide better quality services. Reform of the medicine and health product supply system was needed, as was action against the lack of organization of the national market. Indeed, poor quality products and medicines unfit for consumption had been imported without control and had invaded the whole country. They therefore had to be replaced by good-quality, affordable medicines.

Finally, the regulatory framework needed to be created to form synergies between public and private health systems.

As part of the PASA2 project, Expertise France coordinated the construction, renovation, or extension of 15 health facilities in the forest regions of Guinea.

Since 2015, Expertise France has worked with the Guinean Ministry of Health on several topics. Can you tell us more?

This fruitful partnership between Expertise France and the Guinean government dates back several years already. It’s being consolidated in various areas, such as disease surveillance and prevention. Capacity building for our laboratories and our health system is also a major challenge, particularly with regard to quality issues in our healthcare facilities and hospitals.

Since 2015, we’ve received funding from Expertise France for a total of 11 projects and 4 technical assistance missions. We’re in our eighth year of cooperation for a total of approximately €25 million.

Initially, our collaboration with Expertise France took place under tragic circumstances, when our country had to cope with Ebola. This hemorrhagic epidemic was wreaking havoc not only in Guinea, but also in our neighbors Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Once the epidemic was under control, Expertise France continued to work with us and became involved specifically in improving the quality of services in hospitals. The agency also took actions on issues of hygiene, waste management, and hospital environment in general.

We appreciate the speed and quality by which PASA2 has been undertaken: after two years of implementation, all the facilities are finished, and some are already available to communities.

Since 2019, the PASA2 project, financed by the European Union and implemented along with Expertise France, has sought to strengthen the governance of the health sector in Guinea for the benefit of its people. What has this project achieved so far?

We adopted the lessons learned from the previous PASA1 project, which had faced significant delays. We appreciate the speed and quality by which PASA2 has been undertaken: after two years of implementation, all the facilities are finished, and some are already available to communities.

Expertise France took up this project to strengthen the managerial, planning, and budget control capacities of our managers at different levels. The project also provided support to the Inspectorate General of Health, regional inspectorates, and other inspection agencies in monitoring the implementation of programs and budgets.

In the space of a year, a lot of work has been done to renovate and equip infrastructure.

What do you see as the next steps to ensure that the Guinean people have access to quality health care?

The next project, and one to which I believe Expertise France will contribute, is the financing of our hospitals. We do not yet have universal health coverage in Guinea. The time has come for the country to begin reflecting on setting up such a system.

Expertise France could help support us on these challenges, alongside other potential partners such as WHO, other UN agencies, and bilateral partners. The challenge is to think together about the best way to introduce this reform in Guinea, keeping in mind our level of resources, the structure of our health system, and the level of income of the population.

Interview conducted in May 2023

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