See the Data: The Impact of Ebola in Guinea on Maternal Health and Family Planning Services

Of the four regions in Guinea where Jhpiego works, two have been greatly impacted by the Ebola epidemic, while the other two have had only a few cases since the beginning of the epidemic in early 2014. The maternal and reproductive health data that Jhpiego collects in collaboration with the Ministry of Health reveal a staggering portrait of the effect Ebola is having on mothers and their families.

In the regions—Nzérékoré and Conakry—where the first cases occurred and which are now experiencing a surge in new infections, the number of women giving birth in a facility with a skilled birth attendant by their side plummeted—in Conakry from 4,890 women during the months of October through December 2013, to just 628 from July through September 2014. The number of cesarean births similarly fell, from 1,259 to just 122 over the same time periods. In stark contrast, facility deliveries in a less-affected region of Guinea actually rose slightly over the same time periods.

Ebola has also had a negative impact on women accessing family planning services. For both new and returning users accessing services at a facility or through community distribution, rates have fallen by nearly 70%. Indeed, across all four regions—even accounting for two regions with lower incidences of infection—the rate of new clients accepting a long-acting contraceptive method fell by 67% over 12 months.

A number of factors likely contributed to the steep decline in reproductive health services in regions of Guinea greatly impacted by Ebola. While most health care facilities have remained open and staffed, Guineans are choosing not to go for care. One likely cause is fear that they will be contaminated by Ebola while there. Often, only the most sick are going to facilities for care.

Jhpiego is working with Guinea’s Ministry of Health to continue to provide quality reproductive health services to women and their families in the midst of the ongoing epidemic. Health worker preparedness, infection prevention and ensuring the safety of the health care provider and patient are key areas in which Jhpiego is making an impact.

Ebola Resources