Situation analysis: A resilience under retest!
March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared Corona Virus (COVID-19) a pandemic.
March 19, 2020, Sierra Leone's President declared a state of health emergency. “We are determined to prevent the incidence and spread of the virus. But, we are also extremely cautious like Ebola, by the time we identify one positive case, we would have had several dozen diseases contacts. We cannot afford to wait for a positive case.” The president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, said in his maiden COVID-19 address to the nation.
March 25, 2020, the President engaged Development Partners and members of the diplomatic and consular corps on preparedness and response to the corona virus disease in Sierra Leone.
He said, ‘’In view of the situation, Government is seeking augmentation of our current allocation under the Extended Credit Facility Program with the International Monetary Fund. Additionally, we are also seeking three key interventions: Debt relief from the IMF under the Containment Window of the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust; debt relief from other Bilateral Partners and Multilateral Agencies; and additional grant resources from other Development Partners.”
March 27, 2020, close its land borders except for importation of essential commodities.
March 31, 2020, Sierra Leone confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in Freetown. About a month and a half later (time of this publication), over 500 people confirmed positive cases of the disease with all 16 but three districts succumbing.
April 5, 2020, Government of Sierra Leone declared a three-day lock-down.
April 21, 2020, President Julius Maada Bio went into a 14-day self-isolation following a positive test for the virus by one of his bodyguards.
May 2, 2020, another three-day lock-down was announced by President Bio as a response to the community transmission of #COVID-19.
“…epidemiological data and other evidence indicate that there is community transmission of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone…therefore, Government has decided to intensify contact tracing and detection; scale-up testing and isolation; …and undertake all other measures necessary to break COVID-19 transmission in the country”.
Sierra Leone is now has some of the highest numbers of confirmed of and deaths from COVID-19 cases in the Mano River Union.
Ebola outbreak in 2014 exposed the dire situation in Sierra Leone’s health system as does its ranking in maternal and child mortality rates and a general fragile past that has continuously undermined the country's efforts to rise and leap out of poverty.
Embracing the Humanitarian-Development nexus, Development partners including UNDP are supporting national response to Sierra Leone's COVID-19 fight with a strong emphasis on upholding development gains made over time. UNDP is supporting in three broad areas:
- Building resilient health systems
- Promoting inclusive and integrated crisis management and multi-sectoral responses
- Supporting Recovery and sustainable development.