The humanitarian situation in Guinea has been exacerbated by the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, political instability, and the recurrent threat of disease outbreaks, including hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Lassa and Marburg), measles, polio, and COVID-19 prolonged school closures contributed to the decrease of access to school, placing almost 4,5 million children at risk of learning interruption.
The resurgence of the Ebola virus disease in 2021 and the growing risk of spillover of conflict and armed violence from the neighboring Central Sahel countries highlight the need to maintain a robust emergency readiness capacity in the country, while continuing to invest into systems strengthening for the delivery of essential services.
UNICEF requires US$27.3 million to continue responding to the threat of disease outbreaks, supporting basic service provision, and protecting women and children from violence and abuse.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
Half of Guinea's children already lived in poor households before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their vulnerability has been exacerbated by the socioeconomic impact of COVID19, low access to social protection mechanisms, political instability, and the recurrent threat of disease outbreaks, especially hemorrhagic fevers, measles and polio. The pandemic lead to the interruption of education for thousands of students, exacerbating gender inequalities, increasing the likelihood of early and/or forced marriage as well as concern on gender-based violence. Violence against women and children has increased by 20 per cent since the onset of COVID-19, aggravating an already alarming situation in a country where violence – including sexual violence – is widespread.6
The resurgence of the Ebola virus disease in 2021 placed additional pressure on a fragile health system that was still recovering from the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak and is characterized by inadequate facilities and limited capacity to ensure the required vaccination coverage for children. In 2022, more than 2.2 million children under 5 years of age require polio vaccination7 and 604,404 are in need of measles vaccination following the underutilization of health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.8
The lack of adequate WASH services in health facilities, schools and communities is another challenge to curbing outbreaks, with 21 per cent of households, 69 per cent of health facilities and 64 per cent of schools lacking access to safe water. The nutritional situation of children is fragile due to economic impact of COVID-19 and persistent food insecurity. In 2022, it is projected that 286,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition nationwide.10 In addition, over 4 million children are at risk of dropping out of school, if there is any further epidemic resurgence.11
While the security situation in Guinea has remained relatively calm following a military coup in September 2021, the longer-term socioeconomic impacts are not yet clear, particularly as the country faces the growing risk of spillover of conflict and armed violence from the neighboring Central Sahel countries.