Geography and climate

The Republic of Guinea is located in the southwest of West Africa (Latitude North 7°30′ and 12°30′ Longitude West: 8° and 15°) with an area of 245,857 km2. It is bordered by six countries: Guinea Bissau to the West, Senegal and Mali to the North, Côte d’Ivoire to the East, Liberia and Sierra Leone to the South. It is a coastal country with 333 km of coastline on the Atlantic and extends over 800 km from east to west and 500 km from north to south.

Its climate is tropical, alternating between a rainy season and a dry season of about six months each. The country gives rise to the main rivers of the sub-region: the Senegal River, the Niger River, the Gambia River, the Konkouré River, the Kolente River, and the Lofa River. Guinea comprises four natural regions: Lower Guinea, Middle Guinea, Upper Guinea and Forest Guinea. Lower Guinea is a region of coastal plains which covers 18% of the national territory and which is characterized climatically by heavy rainfall varying between 3000 and 4000mm of water per year with high humidity. Middle Guinea, a region of mountain ranges, covers 22% of the national territory with annual precipitation levels varying between 1500 and 2000 mm with a semi-temperate climate. Upper Guinea is a region of plateaus and wooded savannas covering 40% of the territory GUINEA | National Digital Health Strategy 2021-2025 14 national. The level of precipitation varies between 1000 and 1500 mm per year with a hot and dry climate. Forest Guinea is a set of mountainous massifs which covers 20% of the national territory with a humid climate and rainfall varying between 2000 and 3000 mm per year Guinea has significant hydrographic wealth, a rich mining potential (Two thirds of the world reserves of bauxite, gold, diamond, high quality iron, manganese, zinc, cobalt, nickel, uranium) still under exploited.

Demography and population

The last General Census of Population and Housing (RGPH) of 2014 established the population of Guinea at 10,523,361 inhabitants. According to estimates by the National Institute of Statistics of Guinea, the population increased to 12,559,623 inhabitants in 2020, with an intercensal annual growth rate of 2.9%. Women make up nearly 55% of the population. The majority of the population is young (44% are under the age of 15 in 2014). Only 4% of the Guinean population was over 65 in 2014. This population is very young and predominantly rural. The crude birth rate was 33.6 per 1,000 in 2018 and the total fertility rate was 4.8 children in 2018. The average life expectancy at the 3 Extract from PNDS 2015-2024 GUINEA | National Digital Health Strategy 2021-2025 15 birth is 59 years old4 .

The Guinean population presents a great ethnic diversity. The ethnic groups are as follows: the Malinkés, the Koniankés, the Peulhs, the Toucouleurs, the Diakankés, the Soussous, the Bagas, the Nalous, the Mikoforès, the Kissis, the Guerzés, the Tomas, the Manons, the Konos, the Badiarankés, Bassaris, Koniaguis, Landoumas, Lélés, Foulakoundas, Tomamanians, Kourankos, Djallonkés. Islam is the dominant religion in the country (85%). The rest of the population practices Christianity (4.3%) and traditional beliefs.

Socio-economic situation 

Economically, despite the agricultural, mining and water potential, Guinea remains fragile and vulnerable. The economic and financial reforms undertaken since 2010 have certainly made it possible to meet the conditions of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative to reduce public debt, but have not made it possible to achieve strong and sustainable growth likely to lead the country towards economic emergence. Economic growth between 2008 and 2016 was only 2.9%.

Health Situation

 Malaria is the primary reason for consultation (34%), hospital admission (31%) and death (14.2%) in all age groups. The prevalence rate of diarrhoea is 12.4% in children aged 0-59 months. Cholera has been endemic since 2003, peaking during the rainy season. In 2012 alone, Guinea recorded 11 941 cholera cases and 156 deaths. Tuberculosis is a major public-health problem with a case-fatality rate of 8%. The average prevalence of HIV in the general population has increased from 1.5% in 2005 to 1.7% in 2012.

According to the STEPS survey conducted in 2009 on risk factors for non-communicable diseases in Conakry and Lower Guinea, the prevalence of diabetes was 3.5% in the population aged 15-64 and 5.2% in the population aged 25-64 ans. Among cardiovascular diseases, the prevalence of high blood pressure alone was 28.1% in the survey population.

Health policies and systems

With support from WHO and other technical and financial partners, Guinea has embarked on health sector reform through national health consultations, which culminated in a review of the National Health Policy and the preparation of a new draft National Health Development Plan for the period 2015-2024, as well as the development and imminent signing of the National Compact. The reforms announced in the Minister of Health’s engagement letter of February 2014 have been crystallized in the vision contained in the National Health Policy, which envisages “a Guinea where the entire population enjoys good health, is economically and socially productive, and has universal access to high-quality, fully inclusive health care and services.” To achieve this vision, strategies and interventions have been developed to offset the low levels of health-care coverage resulting from the inefficient and poor condition of existing health infrastructure and facilities.

The major challenge of the WHO Country Cooperation Strategy is to expand health coverage to the entire population by strengthening the delivery of health services and developing community health, against the backdrop of relaunching a health system badly affected in socioeconomic and health terms by the Ebola virus disease epidemic.

Development assistance through bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including agencies of the United Nations system and NGOs, represents a large proportion of health sector financing in Guinea.

At 26.9% of all expenditure on health, this assistance is the second biggest source of health funding, and is concentrated in the area of investments such as infrastructure, capital assets and training.