- Health Care
Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free on 07 November 2015, thus emerging from the grip of an unprecedented Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak which devastated the population, disrupted economic growth and further weakened a fragile health service system through the unfortunate deaths of several prominent medical practitioners. Although two EVD cases were reported in January 2016 causing Sierra Leone to restart the EVD incubation and enhanced surveillance period, these cases appear to be contained. As of 14 February 2016, the country had recorded 14,124 confirmed, suspected and probable cases and 3,956 deaths making Sierra Leone the worst affected country in West Africa and the world. Although the Sierra Leone Civil War (1992 – 2001) ended over a decade ago, the country was still struggling to recover from the bloodshed and violence that left more than 50,000 dead and an estimated 70 percent of the population in poverty, prior to the largest Ebola outbreak in history. The effects of Ebola compounded with Civil War have left Sierra Leone in dire need of experienced human capital to revitalize agriculture, education and health sectors. Estimates indicate that more than 50 percent of trained Sierra Leonean professionals have migrated and remain abroad. Facilitating the temporary return of these professionals would reinforce key sectors of agriculture, education, and health and directly support the advancement of the National Ebola Recovery Strategy.
Sierra Leone was a target country for the 1st and 2nd phase of the TRQN project. 105 assignments took place in priority sectors such as agriculture and education during TRQN I/II. Sierra Leonean diaspora experts contributed to the capacity building of key institutions such as the Ministry of Agriculture, National Association of Farmers, University of Sierra Leone and Milton Mangai College for Education and Technology. According to the Dutch National Statistics Bureau, there are over 7,500 Sierra Leonean in the Netherlands, many of whom are highly educated and have expressed a willingness to contribute to the reconstruction and development of the country through short assignments in Sierra Leone.
Sectors and Objectives
IOM intends to engage Sierra Leonean diaspora professionals residing in the Netherlands for the development and reconstruction of key sectors in Sierra Leone most affected by the Ebola outbreak. TRQN sectoral focus includes: Education, agriculture/ rural development and healthcare. Current capacity gaps within these sectors could severely obstruct the ability to achieve Ebola Recovery Strategy objectives. The objectives in these sectors will be linked to the Sierra Leonean National Ebola Recovery Strategy:
- Strengthen post-Ebola recovery gaps identified in the Recovery Strategy;
- Revitalize agricultural production to promote economic stability and food security;
- Support the government’s objective to develop a more productive diaspora engagement policy;
- Facilitate the deployment of diaspora health care professionals by providing in-service training, mentoring, and strengthening of the overall health system capacity;
- Reinforce the education system and optimize the educational service delivery.
Agriculture/food security and education will be the main sectors in the project. The possibility to add health as a third sector will be explored during the inception phase. This will depend on the identification of the main needs in this sector, as well as the availability of qualified diaspora in the field of healthcare in the Netherlands.
IOM intends to work closely with the ministries of Agriculture, Education and Health; National Association of Farmers, University of Sierra Leone and higher education institutions.
IOM will also collaborate closely with the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) Sierra Leone to further engage the diaspora for the development of Sierra Leone. IOM will involve implementing partner ADPC to deliver tailor-made training designed to strengthen ODA capacity.