Located in sub-Saharan Africa, the country finds itself with one of the greatest rates of death in Africa, ranking fourth on the latest HealthGrove estimates. The bulk of fatal threats to the country are diseases, whether communicable, maternal, neonatal or nutritional. They include, but are not limited to, lower respiratory disease, malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and neonatal disorders.
Cardiovascular diseases, which fall under non-communicable diseases, also constitutes 12 percent of fatalities in the state. These diseases are followed closely by strokes and ischemic heart disease.
There also exists several risk factors that pose the greatest threat to citizens. This includes a number of environmental and metabolic risk factors. However, the two most threatening to the people of Guinea-Bissau are behavioral: maternal/child malnutrition and unsafe sex.
So what can be done to increase life expectancy from the current low measure of 55 years?
At the moment, the U.S. assists Guinea-Bissau through the distribution of monetary aid, with the aid reaching close to $1.6 million. One of the main partners of this aid is listed as the International Partnership for Human Development and the goal is to focus on basic health initiatives.
However, if the end goal is to aid Guinea-Bissau in reducing poverty as well as creating an impact in the health issues it faces, the current aid alone is not enough. Currently, there are several pieces of legislation being considered by the government, that relates to U.S. aid and health: the Reach Every Mother and Child Act as well as the Global Health Innovation Act.
If you want to make a difference to the people of Guinea-Bissau, you can exercise your right as a citizen and get in touch with your member of Congress by calling and/or emailing to voice your support of these pieces of legislation. It is a quick and easy way to use your voice and make a difference.
– Maleeha Syed