Sierra Leone 2014
Sierra Leone. Together with neighboring Liberia and Guinea, Sierra Leone was the country most affected by the Ebola outbreak that began in February. Towards the end of the year, the UN announced that over 17,000 people had become ill with Ebola fever and that more than 6,000 had died of the disease.
In Sierra Leone, the first disease case was discovered in May in Kailahun Province in the east. According to Countryaah.com, Sierra Leone population in 2020 is estimated at 7,976,994. The situation then deteriorated rapidly and was so severe during periods that the worst affected parts of the country were completely blocked off in order to prevent the spread of disease. When the July outbreak reached the capital Freetown, the government announced a state of emergency.
In August, the country’s health minister Miatta Kargbo was dismissed after criticizing how she handled the epidemic. One issue that upset many was the situation of the healthcare professionals treating the Ebola-infected patients. In September, staff at a clinic in Kenema in the eastern part of the country protested against poor work environment and low wages. Several nurses were also affected by the disease themselves. The shortage of domestic healthcare professionals was a major problem, and in the country there were just over 100 doctors during the year. The poorly developed infrastructure also posed problems.
In September, a three-day curfew was introduced in order to stop the rapid spread of the disease. At the end of the month, the country’s borders against Liberia and Guinea were closed to prevent its spread. In the same month, the UN adopted a security resolution describing the outbreak of Ebola fever as “a threat to international peace and security”. The UN called on all member states to assist the affected countries with medical personnel, medical equipment and other supplies.
At the end of October, clashes took place between police and residents in Freetown, where people protested against the authorities’ handling of the epidemic. Later, riots also broke out in the city of Koidu in the east, where two people were killed by police. The incident led to the authorities deciding to impose curfew.
In November, the country’s government appealed to the United States to assist with military aid in the fight against Ebola fever. In December, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that up to 8,000 Sierra Leonias had been infected by Ebola fever and more than 1,700 were estimated to have died in the disease, the outbreak of which was described as the worst since the virus was first detected in the mid-1970s.