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Background

The Danish anthropologist Peter Aaby came to the capital Bissau in 1978. He set out to understand the reasons for the high mortality among children in Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, which was liberated in 1974, after a violent war. After independence in 1974 an extremely high under-five mortality rate (around 500/1000 person-years) prompted the Ministry of Health to approach the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries to organize a study to define nutritional priorities in preventive health care.

The nutrition and child-health study was initiated in 1978, and a census was carried out, with a subsequent anthropometric survey and organization of antenatal care for all women found pregnant during the census. All new pregnancies were registered, together with births, deaths, and migrations. This became the basis for the ongoing registration of the population in the Bandim suburb.

The Danish anthropologist Peter Aaby came to the capital Bissau in 1978. At that time every second child died before it was five years. Peter Aaby set out to understand the reasons for the high mortality and began to register and monitor the population in the suburb Bandim - and so he created a unique research station, the Bandim Health Project (BHP). The project is the oldest of its kind in Africa, and one of the largest.

Map of Guinea-Bissau

Click on the map to see larger map.

About Guinea-Bissau

  • Guinea-Bissau, officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, is a country in West Africa. It covers 36,125 km² (nearly 14,000 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,704,000.
  • Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with Guinea (formerly French Guinea)
  • Most of the population speaks Crioulo, a Portuguese-based creole language, and the remainder speak a variety of native African languages.
  • The country's per-capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world.

 

Last revised 27 July 2016