Activity Post – Sierra Leone

The country that I’ve chosen to research and write about throughout this course is Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is located in West Africa on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. I chose this country mostly because it is known for having some of the worst maternal death rates, among other things, and I want to learn more about how the disparities of this tropical country are influencing its healthcare infrastructure.

According to UNICEF, as of 2012, 48% of the population is under the age of 18 and this is largely because the average life expectancy is 45 years old. The population is also not growing well despite having birth rates higher than death rates.* 

Sierra Leone also has a poor economy, like that of other sub-Saharan Africa countries. From 2007-2011, over 50% of the population was living below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD per day. Fortunately, from 2007-2011, public spending was highest for education and health, while the military received significantly less. *

Women’s health does seem to be lacking though. Between 2008 and 2012, only 11% of women used some form of contraceptive. This number is too low considering how high literacy rates (59.7%) and enrolment ratios (92.8%) were during the same time. Additionally, even though most women had multiple doctor’s visits and skilled attendants at labor, there were still 860 maternal deaths out of 100,000 live births, making lifetime risk of maternal death 1 in every 23. *

 The educational rates were pleasantly surprising to me. Youth males and females had literacy rates of 70.5% and 52.1%, respectively, and had comparable enrollment and net attendance ratios for pre-primary and primary school participation. There were also fairly even attendance ratios for secondary school participation. I think this all correlates with the fact that the majority of public spending is on education.* 

Sierra Leone has made some progress though through the last few decades. From 1970 to 2012, the under-five mortality rate dropped from 329 to 182 per 1,000 live births. Additionally, the total fertility rate increased from 0.1% to 1.4% from 1970 to 2012, which isn’t a large percentage, but it is at least on the up rise.*

Oddly enough, it seems that the disparities by residence aren’t too extreme. The differences are seen in the ratios of having a skilled attendant at birth, comprehensive knowledge of HIV, and use of improved sanitation facilities with urban populations having the greater percentages. I think this would be due to a lack of resources. Those in rural locations tend to have less access to the previously stated things than those in urban locations do. *

The disparities by household wealth go as one would expect. The richest 20% of the population have the higher end of the ratio for all disparities seen previously by residency except for one. The only ratio that the poorest 20% are on top of is that of being treated with oral rehydration salts for diarrhea. It’s possible that the richest 20% has access to better treatments.*

* Statistics. (2013, December 27). Retrieved from

One thought on “Activity Post – Sierra Leone

  1. Hi Lauren. Please change the categories for all your posts… They must be properly categorized according to the type of post it is. As of now, they are all categorized as FAQs. Please do this before the deadline.

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