BMC Public Health. 2022 Sep 22;22(1):1801. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14104-w.
BACKGROUND: Sierra Leone, in West Africa, is one of the poorest developing countries in the world. Sierra Leone has experienced several recent challenges namely, a civil war from 1991 to 2002, a massive Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016, followed by floods and landslides in 2017.In this study, we quantified the burden of disease in Sierra Leone over a 27-year period, from 1990 to 2017.
METHODOLOGY: In this descriptive study, we analysed secondary data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. We quantified patterns of burden of disease, injuries, and risk factors in Sierra Leone. We report GBD data and metrics including mortality rates, years of life lost and risk factors for all ages and both sexes from 1990 to 2017.
RESULTS: From 1990 to 2017, trends of mortality rates for all ages and sexes have declined in Sierra Leone although mortality rates remain some of the highest when compared to other developing countries. The burden of communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMNN) diseases are greater than the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to the prevalence of endemic diseases in Sierra Leone. The most important CMNNs associated with premature mortality included respiratory infections, neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and HIV-Aids. Life expectancy has increased from 37 to 52 years.
CONCLUSION: Sierra Leone’s health status is gradually improving following the civil war and Ebola outbreak. Sierra Leone has a double burden of disease with CMNNs leading and NCDs progressively increasing. Despite these challenges, Sierra Leone has promising initiatives and programs pursuing the Universal Health Coverage 2030 Sustainable Developmental Goals Agenda. There is need for accountability of available resources, clear rules and expected roles for non-governmental organisations to ensure a level playing field for all actors to rebuild the health system.