CBS Guinea

Guinea Red Cross

Dates of implementation: 2019 - present (previous implementations 2017-2018)

Settings: Mixed

Context: Preparedness/ scale-up in emergencies

Data collection system: Started with KoBo reporting system and transitioned to Nyss in 2023

Partners: USAID, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (previous partners included Danish Red Cross, American Red Cross and French Red Cross)

Country Context

Guinea is a country in West Africa with a population of almost 12 million. Guinea was hit in the 2014 Ebola epidemic and counted 3,811 cases and 2,543 deaths. The epidemic – which ended in mid 2016 - highlighted and exacerbated the health and surveillance systems’ weaknesses. These include weakness of fundamental prevention, surveillance and disease control at all levels, and particularly in the community, as well as the limited geographical coverage of health care services in remote parts of Guinea. 

To reinforce these weaknesses, the Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (ANSS - created 2015) has developed a national Community-based Surveillance (CBS) program. A multi-stakeholder working group, including the Guinea Red Cross, worked to harmonize their participation and support ANSS as well as create normative documents. In theory, each supporting partner should take care of implementing CBS in one or more prefectures in the country, based on 6 diseases of epidemic potential.

CBS implementation areas


To support, since 2019 the Guinean Red Cross, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and funding from USAID, is helping communities to prepare and prevent the spread of diseases. Volunteers raise awareness of health risks, particularly with regard to diseases such as rabies, viral hemorrhagic fevers, yellow fever and COVID-19. Focused in the Faranah region, Red Cross works with governments, communities, local responders, and humanitarian partners to collectively prepare for, and respond to, epidemics.

540 volunteers and 16 supervisors have been trained in CBS.

CBS to support Rabies control

In Guinea, canine rabies is endemic. Statistics available from the technical services of the Ministry of Livestock and the Ministry of Health indicate that between 2018 and August 2020, 1,823 cases of dog bites were recorded for 14 cases of human rabies. These figures are underestimated due to under-reporting of bite cases.

During the month of February 2022, seven (07) cases of bites by dogs that tested positive for rabies were recorded in the district of Banian, Faranah prefecture, through the Red Cross community-based surveillance system. This situation prompted the One Health platform to organize a rabies campaign in Bania and the surrounding sub-prefectures of Ballayah, Bambaya and Tiro. Red Cross volunteers raised awareness about rabies. Children and dog owners were given special attention because children are vulnerable to dog bites and the success of the dog vaccination depends on the support of the owners. 

Volunteers reached 2,490 people with the rabies prevention messages and supported more than 200 dogs vaccinated.

Photo Credit: © Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire

Results and Key lessons learned


  • Increased alerts escalated to ANSS led to rapid investigations and responses, decreasing opportunities for suspected and confirmed cases to reach outbreak thresholds.

  • 17 alerts for rabies were raised in 2022 leading to rapid responses, community engagement opportunities and vaccination campaigns to improve rabies control through a One Health approach.

  • Reporting on unusual illnesses & deaths among animal populations led to case investigation by animal health authorities in >96% alerts escalated 


  • Training and Detection: Provide refresher trainings and trainings in other areas (first aid, WASH, CBHFA). Distribute image memory cards to volunteers to help them remember signs and symptoms of health risks under surveillance. Routinely test volunteer’s ability to detect cases.
  • Coordination and communication with ANSS: Establish a Memorandum of Understanding or other formal agreement between Guinea Red Cross and ANSS. Articulate epidemiological arguments – where appropriate, to support CBS implementation in project areas, even if not in line with national strategy. Assure a continued presence of Guinea Red Cross at key meetings in ANSS and showcase the value of the work done by Guinea Red Cross.
  • Community engagement: Implement a package of activities tailored to the needs expressed by the communities when starting a CBS project (health sensitization, WASH), to promote trust, project support and sustainability.