In presenting their Country Report at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Sierra Leone indicated to the House at the plenary that there has been tremendous growth in the health sector.
In line with their Universal Health Coverage goals, government has developed a new national Health Sector Strategic Plan and a Health Financing Strategy (2021-2025) that increases budgetary allocation for health and sanitation to 12%, and has realigned the leadership and structure of the health sector in order to maximize efficiency.
Government has restructured and is working towards making the Sierra Leone Social Health Insurance Scheme (SLeSHI) operational. Government has provided health insurance for all healthcare workers, regularized and strengthened the national drug distribution system, and expanded free healthcare services to school-going children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Few weeks ago, three human cases of anthrax, an animal-based infectious disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium, were detected in Port Loko District, North-West region of Sierra Leone.
Anthrax can be deadly, but often it does not spread so easily if measures are put in place to curtail its outbreak.
Humans are infected through contacts with infected animals or by inhaling the spores. Symptoms of anthrax exposure include skin ulcers, nausea, vomiting and fever. It can lead to death if left untreated. This is the first time Sierra Leone is experiencing an outbreak of anthrax after 28 years.
Necessary modalities have been put in place by health authorities to curtail its spread.
“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, considerable progress has been achieved in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in Sierra Leone. From January to March, 2022, the case fatality rate was reduced to 1.6% and the country recorded only 608 new cases and 0 deaths compared to 663 new cases, 2 deaths and a case fatality rate of 1.7% in the last quarter of 2021”.
As reported earlier, as at 15th March 2021 when Sierra Leone launched the covid-19 vaccination, days after receiving its first doses, from COVAX Facility and others through bilateral partnerships, efforts are ongoing to increase vaccine uptake to reach a wider proportion of the population. Since the first shipments, Sierra Leone has so far received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX.
In addition, Sierra Leone has received 3,418,690 with 68% from COVAX, 19% from the African Vaccine acquisition Trust and 13% from bilateral deals and donations. Of the total doses received 2.1million have been administered, with around 20% of the targeted population (12 years and above) been fully vaccinated.