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Strengthening of Sierra Leone Public Health System

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone, has requested assistance to establish a reliable integrated disease surveillance and response network.

Country: Sierra Leone
Host: Ministry of Health and Sanitation
Start date: 27 July 2015
End date: 26 July 2016
Policy area: Health
Policy adviser: Magna Aidoo
First Project Adviser: Joanna Nurse
Project Manager: Oluwatoyin Job


Sierra Leone experienced a cholera outbreak in 2012 and in 2014 was challenged with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak that had significant consequences, not only in the health sector, but in other sectors as well. The country was not prepared for the EVD outbreak which spread rapidly  across all 13 districts. Epidemiological reports have shown that the number of cases remained unprecedented - outpacing morbidity and mortality figures of neighbouring Guinea and Liberia.

In addition, Sierra Leone is vulnerable to other contagious diseases including measles. It is therefore important to establish a reliable integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) network in the country.


The aim of the project is to assist the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) to strengthen the public health system, with particular regard to early warning and reporting capacities, improved responses, and effective infectious disease mitigation. This has been achieved through through placement of Health System Strengthening Specialist, Integrated Disease Surveillance & Response Expert to advance MOHS efforts to establish a comprehensive and integrated disease surveillance and response system that can promptly identify, track and control future outbreaks.


The successful implementation of the project will create a strategic environment that enables the MOHS to effectively curtail and manage incidences of viral diseases, including EVD, in future. The project will directly improve the efficiency of the MOHS and the general public health management system in providing improved health services.


The intended outputs of the intervention will be:

  1. An issued and accepted report on the comprehensive review of public health management issues facing the Ministry and its subsidiaries in outbreak response and management, including identification of gaps in policy, systems, processes and critical human resource capacity
  2. The development of appropriate public health policies and strategies to ensure effective response and management of public health emergencies (viral and otherwise)
  3. An established system for accurate, reliable, country-wide public health data availability to decision makers & practitioners
  4. An established and operationalised effective framework and system for Ministry of Health coordination of stakeholder (community, national and international) activities in the public health field, particularly in outbreak response and management
  5. Agreed capacity development plan, including schedule for implementation, for Sierra Leone's health sector.