HIV/AIDS and malaria remain serious development issues for The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. The links between poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS are well documented. In both countries, displacement, social instability, gender inequality, high level of internal mobility, migrant labourers and economic disempowerment have all been contributing factors in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Stigma and discrimination, closure of community level structures and inadequate policies are major issues in the fight against HIV/AIDS in these countries.
Malaria is a major killer of children especially those under five years of age and pregnant women. This situation is aggravated by sheer inadequacy of health workers due mainly to high attrition rates. The HIV/AIDS and malaria programme aims to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and eradicate malaria in both The Gambia and Guinea Bissau.