The healthcare situation in Sierra Leone is especially grave and deplorable. The infant mortality rate is the fifth highest in the world and life expectancy is extremely low.
Low life expectancy rate in Sierra Leone is associated with heavy disease burden and high child and maternal morbidity and mortality. The underlying factors are pervasive poverty, high level of illiteracy especially among females, limited access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, poor feeding and hygienic practices, and overcrowded housing and limited access to quality health services.
Malaria accounts for about 48% of out patient attendances, accounting to about 25% mortality in children and under-fives. Main causes are Malaria, Diarrhoea and Pneumonia.
There is inequitable distribution of service delivery points, rural areas suffering neglect; Challenges faced in supply of drugs and medicines, blood transfusion services, equipment supply and laboratory services.
The common causes of child deaths include: 1) under nutrition: 25% of under 5; 2) Diarrhoea: 5% of under 5s; 3) Malaria: up to 63% of deaths and 4) Respiratory Diseases including Tuberculosis.
Sierra Leone is ranked as having the one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. The main causes are obstructed labour, haemorrhage, anaemia and toxaemia in pregnancy.
One in six infants dies at birth. (In Australia it is one in 200!)
There is only one surgeon for every million people. In addition, there is a huge lack of Maternal Health Care: 1 midwife for every 26,00 people.