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Sierra Leone

Social conditions

The fact that Sierra Leone is one of the world's poorest countries is reflected in many ways in addition to the health situation: low degree of urbanization, low literacy and short life expectancy. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SLE and acronym for Sierra Leone. About 3/4 of the population lives in poverty (under US $ 2 per day). About half of the residents have access to clean water, in the countryside only one in four.

Society of Sierra Leone

Despite major aid-financed investments in an expanded healthcare system with both hospitals and local health centers, the system is inadequate and the differences between the city and the countryside are large. There are four hospital beds per 10,000 residents (2006) and one doctor per 50,000 (2008). Qualified staff are available at just under half of the births, with high maternal mortality as a result. In 2009, 4% of government expenditures went to health care. The most common causes of death are lung disease, diarrhea, malaria, measles, tuberculosis and syphilis, as well as HIV/AIDS, which 2% of the population aged 15-49 are estimated to suffer.

The civil war in the 1990s hit the civilian population hard. Terrorism and devastation in rural areas drove large crowds of people to flee to the cities, where large parts of the service, not least the health care, collapsed. So-called street children have become a common sight, especially in Freetown. Mutilation and sexual violence were a common feature of warfare. The capacity to care for all traumatized people is lacking.

Several laws that strengthen women's rights came into force in 2007. women's trafficking has become illegal, but violence against women, including sexual violence, is still a major problem in the country. In addition, genital mutilation (female circumcision) is permitted and a widespread practice; 80-90% of women have been subjected to this type of surgery. Significantly fewer girls than boys are allowed to attend school. A large proportion of girls are married in their teens, which contributes to the low educational attainment of women. Of the country's MPs, 13% are women.


Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa; 951,000 residents (2014). Freetown is located on the northern slopes of the rocky Sierra Leone Peninsula. The city has a Caribbean feel with pastel-colored 1800-ts houses with rust-red canopies, and many of the city's neighborhoods with its steep streets are named after immigrants' homes, such as Congotown and Bambaratown. The port is a safe, natural deep-water port that handles most of Sierra Leone's foreign trade.

Freetown has been hit hard by the country's bloody civil war. When ECOMOG (the peacekeeping force from West African countries) displaced the military in 1998, Freetown was exposed to aerial bombardments, and when the RUF rebels captured Freetown in 1999, approximately 150,000. After a few days, Freetown was captured back during fierce street fighting with many people killed.

Freetown was founded in 1787 by the British Granville Sharp as a sanctuary for freed and runaway slaves; it was the 1821-74 government city for Britain's West African possessions. Freetown became the capital of Sierra Leone at independence in 1961.


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