With around 1.4 million people, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea is one of the smallest countries in Africa. Sandwiched between Cameroon and Gabon, it is located on the western coast of Africa.
The country has a lot of natural resources such as gold, diamonds and oil, and was once one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Unfortunately, little of the wealth that was generated through oil actually reached the population and the majority lives in poverty.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Equatorial Guinea since 1996.
HIV is very common in Equatorial Guinea. The United Nations estimates that around 7% of the population suffer from it. Women are more affected than men are.
The number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy has decreased over the last few years. In 2019, only 14% of children and 50% of pregnant women living with HIV were able to receive it (compared to 16% and 90% in 2016). This also shows that children and young people have far less access to treatment than adults do.
The access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools is poor. Over 83% of pre-primary and primary schools do not have safe drinking water and over 35% do not have latrines.
This is worrisome because in order to keep children in school the conditions of safe drinking water and proper toilets need to be vastly improved.
The under-five mortality rate is very high compared to other middle-income countries. The main causes of child mortality remain malaria, acute respiratory infections and diarrhea.
Child deaths could be reduced by improved access to drinking water and toilets.
Furthermore, only a few children are vaccinated against preventable illnesses. The under-five mortality rate does not only measure child survival but also reflects the social, economic and environmental conditions in which children live.