COVID-19 Research: Sierra Leone report

Publication language
Date published
06 Jul 2023
Research, reports and studies
Sierra Leone
Concern Worldwide

By 21 August, there were 1,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone and 69 deaths, however there is a sense these figures may underestimate the scale of the pandemic. 

The Sierra Leone Government has implemented what is generally perceived as a well-organised national response. Schools were officially closed on 31 March, and other actions included a series of short three-day lockdowns since early April, limitations on inter-district travel (subsequently lifted), a curfew (currently in place from 11 in the evening to six in the morning), and the compulsory wearing of facemasks since 1 June. On 10 July, as part of a partial lifting of restrictions, the president announced that places of worship could reopen and from 13 July, that air travel could resume. Exam classes returned to school on 1 July for four weeks, and schools in general will re-open on 5th October 2020.

However, the pandemic is considered to be compounding an economic situation already severely affected by currency depreciation and rampant inflation, with a drop in external and internal demand curtailing economic activity, and containment measures disrupting domestic supply chains and leading to bottlenecks in the transportation of agricultural products. Prices of major food commodities have risen well above their long-term average, and a potential reduction in domestic agricultural production, given a below-average rainfall forecast, in the coming season could lead to further food price increases.

This brief examines how the response to COVID-19 in Sierra Leone has affected some of the poorest households in terms of their food security, livelihoods, access to basic health services and the longer-term impacts on children’s education in locations where Concern Worldwide works.