Sierra Leone: Kenema District Profile (3 December 2015)

Context: Kenema district is in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, the capital and the largest city is Kenema, which is the third largest city in Sierra Leone. The city is located on the railway line, in a valley of the Kambui Hills. The district is ethnically diverse, and the Mende people make up the largest ethnic group. Kenema city is the centre of the Alluvial Diamond Mining Scheme Area and the site of the Government Diamond Office. Kenema is an important agricultural market town and the centre of the timber industry in Sierra Leone. The area’s production of cocoa, coffee, palm oil and kernels, furniture, and wood carvings is transported mainly by road to Freetown for sale and export . Politically, Kenema is a stronghold of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), the main opposition party in Sierra Leone. Rainfall is 2,001 to 3,000 mm per year.

Education: In Sierra Leone, it is legally required for all children from six years to attend primary school and three years in junior secondary school. A shortage of schools and teachers has made implementation of this policy impossible. The number of children in primary education has greatly increased since the end of the civil war in 2002 . Currently, Kenema has 739 schools (42 pre-primary, 605 primaries, 73 junior secondary schools and 19 senior secondary schools.) The outbreak of Ebola led to the closure of schools for a prolonged period from July 2014 to April 2015. A 2010/11 School Census by the Ministry of Education found that 55% of the schools in the country were in need of repairs. Twenty-five percent of schools typically collect water from a stream, while 38 percent of schools have non-functioning toilets. Sierra Leone has a low level of literacy among adults, with only 42.0% of adults found to be literate in 2010.

Food Security: Kenema is one of the most food insecure districts in the country. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in Sierra Leone (2010) report confirmed the percentage of household as food insecure was 33.8%.The district exceeded the 40% critical threshold of chronic malnutrition set by WHO. In March 2014, the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea and the epidemic crossed the border into Sierra Leone, with the highest concentration initially in Kailahun and Kenema districts. By 2014, the district had alarming levels of food insecurity, where more than half of the households were food insecure. The EVD outbreak further eroded the livelihoods, especially Kenema as a cash-crop production area. Labourers were affected by restrictions and quarantines with production and trading being significantly impacted.

Health: Healthcare is 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 moved to a decentralised structure of health provision to increase coverage. 18 In Kenema, the medical facilities are 21 community health Centers (CHC), 17 community health posts (CHP), 44 maternal child health posts (MCHP) and 1 government hospital, 1 government clinic, 2 mission clinics, 1 mission hospital, 1 NGO clinic, and 3 private clinics. 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: Kenema suffered significantly during the Ebola outbreak. The total cumulative number of confirmed cases is 50321 . On 2 April 2015, the district reached 42 days without any new EVD cases, and has remained transmission free since then.

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 and reported 3659 water points in Kenema. Of these, 772 were partially damaged or broken; 151 were under construction (25% non-functional). The population per water point was 160. Points require repairs and many new points need to be built to provide the community with adequate safe water supplies.

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