Located in West Africa, Guinea Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world. With a total area of 36,125 km², the country is around 10% smaller than Switzerland. About two thirds of the 1.4 million inhabitants live below the poverty line.

In 2008, Hilfsaktion Noma e.V. received a letter from the health authorities of Guinea-Bissau, asking for assistance to fight Noma in the country. We responded immediately and organized a seminar in the capital Bissau to inform medical personnel about the disease. The immense interest and the government’s determination to learn more about the disease in order to fight it encouraged us to start a pilot project in Guinea Bissau in September 2008.

The government offered a space at the National Hospital ” Samao Mendes ” as the location for our local health station. We prepared the space with the necessary materials and hired corresponding personnel to treat patients during the early stages of the disease with antibiotics, select others for operations and single out patients that needed a prosthesis. But the health station still was not equipped to conduct larger operations as neither an operating room nor an intensive care unit existed.

In February 2011, construction of a specialized hospital for Noma patients began: After two years of planning under the leadership of architects Souleymane Baré and Roland Mittermayer, the foundation stone for the first Noma center of the country could be laid. On 1,600 m² of land provided by the government, the 2,500 m² building with operating rooms, hospital rooms and laboratories was constructed within in 22 months.

Hospital at Guinea-BissauOn November 20, 2012, the Noma Center was inaugurated in the presence of numerous representatives from government and other organizations. The new, modern hospital provides comprehensive care to Noma patients – from preliminary examination to often complicated surgeries and aftercare. The hospital has two wards, where patients are prepared for surgery and care after surgery, three examination rooms, a treatment room, an operating room with attached sterilization room and laboratory, as well as an intensive care unit for particularly serious cases.

Inauguration Bissau

We regularly conduct operation missions of surgeons from Austria and Germany at the hospital. All local staff and a surgeon from Niger are trained during these missions as well.