The Republic of Guinea is a West African country bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali to the north, and Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast to the south. Home to the Gambia, the Niger, and the Sénégal rivers, Guinea is known for its lovely landscapes and captivating waterfalls. The country has a predominantly Muslim population of over 12.9 million, with the highest density in the south and west of the country. As many as 40 different languages are spoken throughout the country, although French is the most widely used.
Formerly part of both the Ghana Empire and the Mali Empire, Guinea achieved independence from French West Africa in 1958. What followed was a period of political instability as rival groups fought for political power. Guinea is rich in resources including gold, diamonds, and a large portion of the world’s bauxite. Agriculture is the nation’s primary source of employment and income, but this way of life is threatened by climate change, as annual rainfall totals decline and temperatures rise. About half of the population lives in poverty.
Widespread poverty is reflected in the population’s overall health. In addition to poor healthcare infrastructure, the country was also the origin of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which devastated Guinea and spread to neighboring nations. Leading causes of death include lower respiratory infections, malaria, neonatal disorders, diarrheal diseases, stroke, ischemic heart disease, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, congenital defects, and measles. Death from measles has decreased substantially, but it still remains a significant health threat and a top cause of death.
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