Sierra Leone: Kailahun District Profile (3 December 2015)
Context: Kailahun is a district in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. Its capital and largest city is Kailahun town. Other major towns in the district include Segbwema, Koindu, Pendembu and Daru. Kailahun district is subdivided into fourteen chiefdoms. The border of the district with Guinea is formed by a section of the Moa River. The population in the district is predominantly Muslim. Kailahun has a mixed economy with small-scale mining and agricultural production of coffee, cacao and rice. Rainfall in this area is 2,001 to 3,000 mm per year 10 and vegetation is a mix of savanna, forest and secondary growth. After years of civil war (1991-2002), with a slow recovery, this district still remains as one of the poorest in the country.
Education: In Sierra Leone, it is legally required for all children from six years old to attend primary school and three years of junior secondary school. A shortage of schools and teachers has made implementation impossible, although the number of children in primary education has greatly increased since the end of the civil war in 2002. Currently, Kailahun has 410 schools (19 pre-primary, 346 primaries, 35 junior secondary schools and 10 senior secondary schools)15 . The outbreak of Ebola led to the closure of schools for a prolonged period from July 2014 to April 2015. 16 A 2010/11 School Census by the Ministry of Education reported that 55% of the schools at the time were in need of repairs. Twenty-five percent of schools typically collect water from a stream, while 38 percent of schools have non-functional toilets. Sierra Leone has a low level of literacy among adults with only 42.0% of adults literate reported as in 2010.
Food Security: In June 2015, an emergency food security assessment identified Kailahun as a district with one of the highest prevalence rates of both moderate and severe food insecurity in the country (59% and 16% respectively). They reported a surge since 2011, when only 13 percent of the households were food insecure. In 2014-2015, the prevalence of poor food consumption is related to the Ebola epidemic. Kailahun is close to the border with Liberia and Guinea, and to the epicenter of the EVD outbreak (Gueckedou-Guinea). The area has both cash and food crop farming. The Ebola outbreak coincided with the planting season and it expanded during the crop maintenance period and critical harvesting period for staple crops (rice, maize and cassava). In the communities directly affected by the Ebola outbreak, livelihoods were impacted as a result, with irregular incomes, lower food consumption. Farmers reported decreased rice production due to a reduced farming workforce, caused by containment measures.
Health: Health services are provided by government, private and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) is responsible for health care. Following the civil in war in 2002, the Ministry changed to a decentralised structure to increase coverage. 19 In Kailahun, the medical facilities are 12 community health centers (CHC), 31 community health posts (CHP), 11 maternal child health posts (MCHP) and 1 government hospital and 1 government clinic. Traditional medicine forms part of the primary health care system in Sierra Leone. Endemic diseases are Yellow Fever and Malaria in Sierra Leone.
Ebola Emergency: Kailahun was the second district in Sierra Leone to reach the milestone of 42 consecutive days without registering an Ebola case, at the end of the 2014, in 12 December. The district was heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak, with the highest concentration initially in Kailahun and Kenema districts. The total cumulative number of confirmed cases was 565.
Water and Sanitation: Despite efforts, access has not improved since the end of the Sierra Leone Civil War in 2002. The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MoEWR) and its partners conducted a comprehensive mapping exercise in the first half of 2012. They found 2,299 water points in Kailahun. Of these, 772 were partially damaged or broken, and 113 were under construction (38% non-functional). The population per water point is 301. Points require repairs and many new points are needed in areas to support adequate safe water supply for the community.