Child Reintegration Centre case managers traveled to Manguama village to distribute food to families made more vulnerable by the economic slowdown affecting the whole country. Manguama is one of the villages served by Mercy Hospital's medical outreach teams, and home to ten CRC students. These families, who are among the most marginal in a predominantly poor population, have been struggling severely, as markets were closed and movement restricted to prevent the spread of COVID.
The restrictions put in place by the Sierra Leone government to limit the spread of COVID further depressed the already sluggish economy, and have imperiled families in extreme poverty. The price of food has inflated by as much as 16% by some reports, and the percent of people with insufficient food has increased to more than 50%. Sierra Leone already had a very high rate of child malnutrition, which has increased to nearly 30% for children under five. There are no government provided income support measures in place, and no debt relief.
COVID-19 is also an added burden on Sierra Leone’s fragile health system, which is still recovering from the 11-year civil war that ended in 2002 and the Ebola outbreak that killed nearly 4,000 people between 2014 and 2016.
As of September, most government-imposed restrictions have been lifted, although gatherings of more than 100 people are still banned. Sierra Leone has reported more than 2,000 COVID cases, with 72 deaths. (COVID Tracker: https://www.bing.com/covid/local/sierraleone)
Restrictions: As of September 11:
-There are no workplace measures.
-There are no stay-at-home requirements.
-There are no restrictions on internal movement.
-There are restrictions on gatherings of more than 100 people.
-Screening is in place.
-The government does not provide income support.
-There is no debt or contract relief in place.