Sierra Leone

UNICEF Sierra Leone HAC Situation Report: January-December 2021



UNICEF continued to support the COVID-19 vaccine deployment in the country. As of 31 December 2021, a total of 2,308,000 vaccine doses had been received, including 1,357,800 doses under COVAX. A total of 615,160 people are fully vaccinated and 1,261.841 persons had been vaccinated with at least one dose.

UNICEF supported two rounds (with one mop-up) of polio reactive campaigns (with nOPV2) in which over 1.6 million children under five years were immunized, and COVID-19 surge vaccination campaign in December with 264,739 vaccine doses administered.

Risk Communication and Community Engagement related to COVID-19 prevention, EVD preparedness and the polio outbreak reached 3.7 million people, including through interactive programmes in 59 radio stations across all 16 districts.

UNICEF supported the coordinated response to fire outbreaks in Susan’s Bay and Wellington, Freetown by distributing learning materials to 700 children, providing psycho-social support to 5,515 children, nutrition counselling and risk communication.

Situation in Numbers

3,300,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance

4,800,000 people in need

Funding Overview and Partnerships

In 2021, UNICEF received a total of USD 1.79 million from the Government of Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Government of Sierra Leone and pooled Global Thematic Humanitarian Funds and UNOCHA (CERF) for the humanitarian response in Sierra Leone. GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the French Committee for UNICEF, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the US Fund for UNICEF and pooled Global Thematic Humanitarian Funds from several partners contributed to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines in Sierra Leone. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received.
A funding gap of 64% however remains.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

During the year, with the resurgence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in neighbouring Guinea in February 2021 and confirmation of a case of Marburg Virus Disease along the border with Guinea in August 2021, UNICEF supported the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) in actively pursuing preparedness measures to address the threat of spillover into Sierra Leone while simultaneously preventing and addressing urban fire disasters, responding to COVID-19, and rolling out vaccination and immunization campaigns for polio and measles.

As of 31 December 2021, a cumulative total of 6,983 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 123 deaths and 4,490 recoveries had been reported by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS). After the second and third waves of COVID-19 in January and June/July, indications show that a fourth wave of COVID-19 started in mid-December 2021. Sierra Leone officially started the nationwide roll out of COVID-19 vaccines on 22 March 2021. As of 31 December 2021, 7.4 per cent of total population were fully vaccinated.

The GoSL issued public notices and announcements and imposed several curfews and restrictions on public gatherings. Although enforcement has been challenging, the government has consistently called for the respect of public health protocols and an increase in vaccinations.

UNICEF response to two fire outbreaks in Susan’s Bay in March and in Wellington on 5 November 2021 strengthened emergency preparedness and response capacities.

Together with WHO and UNFPA, UNICEF advocated with the MoHS to ensure continuation of essential health and nutrition service delivery. As lead agency in several sectors, UNICEF also supported the coordination of humanitarian activities through the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and Ministries. UNICEF provided significant support to the GoSL as the main procurement agency for COVID-19 and other essential supplies.