UNDP Sierra Leone COVID-19 SitRep #01


Issue #01 May 19, 2020

Country snapshot


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.


UNDP Response


Strengthening decentralized structures for COVID-19

UNDP's long-standing work in and with Local Government in Sierra Leone yielded a request from the Ministry of Local Governance for financial and technical support towards combating COVID-19 at District Council and Chiefdom levels. UNDP responded with strategic assistance based on experiences and lessons learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak. 

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Lest we forget: building resilience of vulnerable communities for COVID-19

Sierra Leone has faced recurring strikes of disaster in recent times. Vulnerable communities bear the biggest brunt of these calamities. UNDP continues its work with 'at-risk' populations and disaster-prone communities to build resilience against COVID-19.

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#COVID-19Inequalities: Lock-downs and the plight of the Homeless 

Our staff from the sustainable livelihoods cluster were compelled to serve a hot meal to Freetown's homeless during the last lock-down. A blog from Tanzila, the Team Lead reminds us that a little love and kindness go a long way in the fight against COVID-19.

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Working with Mano River Union to enhance Border Security for rapid COVID-19 response

Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea to the Northwest and Liberia to the Southwest. The three countries share a lot in common in terms of social, economic and political aspects. When Ebola stroke, the three were badly affected and with joint efforts worked through to recovery. Now, UNDP and the Mano River Union are supporting them to fight against COVID-19 together.

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Accelerator Lab maps and links local innovation ecosystems for COVID-19 response 

Spotting the dire need to mobilize local ideas, resources and solutions that assure country-specific response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP’s Accelerator Lab in Sierra Leone launched a WhatSapp campaign to rally local innovators and map their details from the National Grassroot Solutions Database to prepare and re-position themselves to play pivotal roles in supporting the national response through creative thinking and innovation.

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Peacebuilding in the era of COVID-19  

In January 2020, the Peacebuilding Fund project was renewed with UNDP, WFP implementing in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister. The peacebuilding work continues in alignment to the COVID-19 context. Recently, they held a training for police officers and community security personnel in Moyamba. An interview with Hawanatu, a Police Officer in Upper Banta, Rutile in Moyamba district stresses the importance of peacebuilding in the era of Corona Virus.

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Connecting Inmates with loved ones when COVID-19 separates them

Government announced suspension of all visitations at the onset of COVID-19 outbreak. To keep Inmates in touch with family and friends, UNDP supplied all Correctional Centers in Sierra Leone with pre-paid subscription mobiles phones.

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Thank you for taking time to read this message. For more updates, visit www.undp.sl.org

© Copyright, 2020,  UNDP Sierra Leone.


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