Sierra Leone registers the highest covid-19 death rate in the mano river region

Mohamed A. Jalloh: 16 May 2020:

The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Sierra Leone on 31 March 2020, and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China).

The Mano River Union Countries registered their first corona Index on 11 March 2020. Guinea has been its epicentre with 2,531 cases reported as of 16th May 2020 and registered 15 fatalities. Ivory Coast – the first Nation in the region that reported its infected case has registered 2,017 with 24 COVID -19 deaths.

Though Liberia confirmed its first case two weeks ahead of Sierra Leone, there are encouraging signs  they are slowing the spread of COVID-19 than any member Nation in the region. To date, they have 223 total confirmed cases and 20 deaths.

The increase of coronavirus infection rate in Sierra Leone is unprecedented, with total number of cases now at 462 and worrisome 29 deaths. The country has had two full lockdowns of three-days each, and remains in a state of partial lockdown, with curfews in place every evening. Borders have been closed since March 27. The major focus in response to COVID-19 is to get the right messages out there.

Many conspiracy theorists and the bulk of the population don’t believe the authority, neither do they believe in the existence of coronavirus in Sierra Leone.

President Bio made a huge call and appointed a team of Scientific Experts to lead the fight against COVID-19, yet we are struggling as a Nation to break the chain of transmission.

Why is Sierra Leone losing so many lives compared to its Neighbours?

The government is yet to approve its State of Emergency regulations in parliament. It has not been able to properly connect with its people. Its facing huge compliance challenge. Political tension is also not helping the cause in the fight against the pandemic.

Liberia implemented four weeks lockdown (April 11 – May 8 ) and still has a curfew in place to slow down the spread of corona. The impact is immense.

Sierra Leone only had six days lockdown with inter-district restrictions. Quarantine facilities are a big challenge. Sierra Leone’s Health workers are doing a great job even without adequate PPE and other medical logistics. There are reports of nurses yet to receive their salaries.

Conditions in quarantine homes and treatment centres are nothing to talk about. The EOC at yesterday’s press briefing was forced to admit those failings on the part of Government. No clear report has been given as to where most of the deaths are coming from.

The good news, Sierra Leone’s testing capacity is over 100 a day. In the last 24 hours, around 173 tests were carried out with a report of 15 positive cases.

Guinea has recorded over 2,000 cases than Sierra Leone, and has the lowest COVID-19  fatality rate of 15, with encouraging recovery figures as well of 895.

Liberia’s recovery rate is around 96% of total cumulative COVID-19 cases, while 106 infected persons so far have recovered in Sierra Leone from the disease.

The socio-economic implications of the pandemic is huge. So why not have a full 14 days in the Western area of Sierra Leone and its environs where community transmission is higher? Western Urban and Rural account for over 387 infected cases.

President Bio (Photo) needs a clear vision and redirect his focus to combat the corona disease. The World Health Organization has yet to approve the Madagascar Organic medication to cure Corona. But the same WHO is saying the disease will live with the world for long periods. The best bet is prevention, sensitization and enforcement of regulations.

The reality is that Sierra Leone’s Free health care has been exposed. The country is still unprepared to wage war on corona. People are dying with so many unanswered questions, including whether they are indeed corona related.

Sadly, majority of these deaths are outside COVID-19 treatment centres. Public confidence is fragile.

It’s time we come together as a nation to defeat the common enemy by breaking the rate of transmission. Social distancing – declaration of two weeks lockdown in Freetown must now be implemented.

10 Comments

  1. The fact speaks for itself. Globally, all countries affected are struggling to deal with this Covid 19 virus. Sierra Leone is no exception. A government that inherited poor state of health facilities with the best efforts will still struggle to deal with this virus. Countries with decades of good or better health facilities are crumbling under the weight in dealing with this disease.

    Most Sierra Leoneans politically aligned, will never come up with innovative technological or logical suggestions nor would they be creative in helping to support government efforts in helping to deal with the current health situation. What they are good at is to sit in the comfort of their homes blasting the effort of President Bio. He has done way better than the previous government in dealing with such an epidemic. Lets call a spade a spade! Give due diligence to whom it is due!

  2. The third to last paragraph is the theme of this article. Maada Bio is conflicting the fight against the dreadful coronavirus disease with his incessant pursuit to hang on to power. Even before the emergence of COVID-19, he knew he had failed the nation with his fairy tale promises. Ironically, COVID-19 offered Maada Bio an opportunity to reconvince the people that he was the right man they had chosen to occupy State House, in the past 2018 elections. But how can one fight a war without the necessary mobilization of resources, a conducive and inclusive atmosphere and the right frame of mind; especially when there are overriding factors of tribalism and regionalism?

    For 2-years since his inception to power, Maada Bio has been busy fighting his North-West opponents with less emphasis on stimulating the economy, or create the favourable healthcare infrastructure to wage an onslaught against a pandemic such as COVID-19. What the people are seeing on their streets toay, is seemingly not a determined fight against an invisible enemy, but a coloration of Military and Police uniforms, and a constant reminder of an intrusion to their already battered and demoralised lives. They are also witnessing the overt threat to their civil liberties and human rights by the selfish, fraudulent and fake, Julius Maada Bio.

  3. Bilal Coleman says—“ Sierra Leone may have the highest death rate in the Mano River Union. But Sierra Leone also has the least infection rate in the Mano River Union. This means that the Government of Sierra Leone is doing a good job at preventing the spread of the virus.”

    Contrary to what Mr. Coleman wants us to believe, daily aggregated statistics from the MRU countries paint our nation as the worst performance in nearly all categories in the fight against Covid-19.

    According to current data, Guinea where the virus first landed in the subregion (March 16th) as of today 16th May 2020 has: 2,658 confirmed cases, 1,133 recoveries and 16 deaths. Liberia was the second to inherit the virus (March 13th), as of today has: 223 confirmed cases, 116 recoveries and 20 deaths. My beloved nation Salone, the last to inherit the virus (March 31st), as of today has 462 confirmed cases, 106 recoveries, and 29 deaths. So despite having almost 2 weeks preparation to control the virus after it arrived at our doorsteps, we are doing miserably especially in the area of fatalities. Below is a global interactive map, courtesy of google.

    https://news.google.com/covid19/map

  4. It is all over the world especially the older people and the poor people had to suffer and die. this is also in the USA, Mr. Coleman, with the black people in New York. What is with the covid-19 treatment centers? I just read the “politico-
    newspaper”: “no pay for Sierra Leonean covid-19 workers and contractors” since April.

  5. It is very sad to know that globally, prudent, discerning minds that have held private discourses related to responsible governance, have unanimously finally concluded that Sierra Leone has the most inept, totally inefficient, maladroit government presently in the whole world. Consider this carefully, during these desperate, difficult, unpredictable, hard Covid-19 times, no country in the world is presently involved in any kinds of callous, reckless, irresponsible political acts of vengeance, revenge and witch hunts, except our own. No question, their sworn allegiances to serve, protect and safeguard the interests of the people of this nation are all bogus, a sham craftily devised for the purposes of enhancing their greed for money and power.

    Ask yourself, what strategies or decisive, concrete steps has this SLPP government taken to identify those at risk of being infected by the coronavirus and to prevent it from rapidly spreading? Ask them how many reliable tests they have already conducted and are still doing and they will throw in your face, nothing but fabricated, shameless deceptive lies. Listen, by not acting professionally and doing things improperly they are taking unnecessary, foolhardy chances, playing games with the innocent lives of those who trusted them with power.

    What is the world coming to? Donald Trump, so far away in the richest country in the world, does not have a credible plan for fighting the Coronavirus, and here also, in the poorest nation on planet earth Maada Bio, has no plan whatsoever for protecting the people of Sierra Leone.Surprised? Well you should not be; these two incompetent men are arrogant and self conceited by nature, who have very little empathy and concern for the well being of others.

  6. Implement a 14 days lockdown on Freetown? Ordering people to be packed in small places, without food, water, money and no support from anyone? Brutal officials beating them back if they dare to leave the house to find something to eat? Probably the Corona cases will get down, but half of the population of Freetown will be starving. If at all a lockdown will come, at least use the donations that the international donors for long have been giving for the fight against Corona to support that population.

  7. Indeed. With all the 2 billion, all the scientific advisers and the best men in place to fight and slow down Coronavirus, the Bio SLPP is still struggling. Too little too late in my view. What an alarming and disastrous figure for the Bio SLPP. Straight talk, transparency, political stability and accurate information is what is needed to fight Coronavirus. “Catch it, Clean it, Bin it and Wash it”.

    I have said it on this glorious platform and will say it again. You can’t fight Coronavirus with a state of emergency in a very poor country like Sierra Leone. Instead, you fight it more effectively with a State of Public Health Emergency and good governance. More importantly, make the public be aware, which areas/sector the virus is active, what group of the population is vulnerable to the disease and what to do in case households experience flu like symptoms or any other symptoms related to Coronavirus.

    Don’t send messages that will make people feel threatened to come forward if they experience Coronavirus symptoms. Make sure the quarantined centers are well taken care of. If people don’t get the right treatment and care they need, when they are sent to these quarantined centers, then, others will not present themselves to the authorities, even if they know they are infected. The virus will just keep on its spreading spree. Finally, with 29 deaths and not the same as 29 killed sometime ago, forgive me for saying that, the Bio SLPP must sit down with our gallant opposition and find a solution to sort out this excellent mess they created, due to acting very late in my view. God help protect our people from Coronavirus.

  8. “The reality is that Sierra Leone’s Free health care has been exposed. The country is still unprepared to wage war on corona. People are dying with so many unanswered questions, including whether they are indeed corona related.” Mohamed A. Jalloh

    The state of New York in the United States, the state with probably the most sophisticated medical care system in the world, has also been exposed. Can we say that the state of New York is also unprepared to wage war on corona? Also, people are dying in New York with so many unanswered questions. Can we say that the Governor of New York is not up to the task of fighting the the corona virus? Remember that the state of New York is one of the wealthiest states in the United States.

    Sierra Leone may have the highest death rate in the Mano River Union. But Sierra Leone also has the least infection rate in the Mano River Union. This means that the Government of Sierra Leone is doing a good job at preventing the spread of the virus. In the first two weeks of April, the state of New York was recording daily death rates in the 700s while the entire United States was recording rates in the 2000s per day. The fact is, the corona virus has exposed the best medical care systems in the world. We in Sierra Leone are lucky to have infection and death rates among the lowest in the world.

  9. The government is doing their best under the circumstances. Covid 19 is a virus that is blind and doesn’t discriminate when it attacks. The UK prime minister Boris Johnson had it and almost died of it, and our own very president Maada Bio was suspected of it and thank God they both came out of it on the clear. I think president Bio should take the lead in educating the general population of Sierra Leone, especially the sceptics about the dangers of this virus – and not leave it to the health officials only.

    It is more reassuring for the frightened general population of Sierra Leone to see the president or vice president occasionally take to the podium like what Trump and Boris Johnson do in their respective countries. Never mind what other African countries are doing. The president’s words will carry more weight because of his personal experience with this deadly virus. Lockdown is all good and well but when half of the population live below the poverty line and families are struggling to feed their young, it is stretching it too far. Government and people with means in Sierra Leone should start coming down from their ivory towers and help the people. Nigerian, South African billionaires are doing it in their own country because we are all in this together.

    For the sceptics that see everything through the lens of tribal lines, COVID 19 is real and is here to stay until we find a vaccine. Sometimes I wonder which planet they live on. When the virus attack, it is not working around with a clipboard asking you such questions as – which tribe you belong to? Mende, limba, Temne, koranko, Fula, Krio, yalunka, Lebanese, mandingo, rich or poor. Everyone is susceptible to this deadly virus. Whatever tribe you happen to belong to, it will attack and kill you. If you don’t care about your well-being, have the decency and care about your fellow countrymen.

  10. Yes indeed Sierra Leone was the last MRU member states in obtaining the Covid-19, however, despite having ample time to prepare, we are performing poorly in the containment and management of the virus compared to our neighbors. This goes to show the level of ineptitude that exists in our current governance system. One of the most baffling and illogical aspect that I have yet to reason with is the sporadic/random 3 days lockdown the authorities continue to institute.

    Scientific data indicates that, the virus manifest itself after 14days, so what is the rationale for having just 3 days lockdowns? To make matters worse, each time a 3 days lockdown is announced the eve of the lockdown usually forces thousands of Freetonians to flock into the center of town — shopping and replenishing much needed supplies. I have heard stories of overcrowded streets and jam-pack public transportation vehicles with no social distancing being observed whatsoever. In essence, just before each lockdown, people who may have not had the virus will essentially be infected while doing their shopping only to bring it back to their family members and communities. Makes no sense!!!

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