Healthcare in Equatorial Guinea, West Africa: obstacles and barriers to care


Kim Eleanor Reuter, Aurora Geysimonyan, Gabriela Molina, and Peter Robert Reuter


Introduction: The provision of healthcare services in developing countries has received increasing attention, but inequalities persist. One nation with potential inequalities in healthcare services is Equatorial Guinea (Central-West Africa). Mitigating these inequalities is difficult, as the Equatoguinean healthcare system remains relatively understudied.

Methods: In this study, we interviewed members of the healthcare community in order to: 1) learn which diseases are most common and the most common cause of death from the perspective of healthcare workers; and 2) gain an understanding of the healthcare community in Equatorial Guinea by describing how: a) healthcare workers gain their professional knowledge; b) summarizing ongoing healthcare programs aimed at the general public; c) discussing conflicts within the healthcare community and between the public and healthcare providers; d) and addressing opportunities to improve healthcare delivery.

Results: We found that some causes of death, such as serious injuries, may not be currently treatable in country, potentially due to a lack of resources and trauma care facilities. In addition, training and informational programs for both healthcare workers and the general public may not be effectively transmitting information to the intended recipients. This presents hurdles to the healthcare community, both in terms of having professional competence in healthcare delivery and in having a community that is receptive to medical care.

Conclusion: Our data also highlight government-facility communication as an opportunity for improvement. Our research is an important first step in understanding the context of healthcare delivery in Equatorial Guinea, a country that is relatively data poor.


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