APRM Impressed with Sierra Leone’s Handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Encourages other Regional Member States to Adopt the Model

Presidential Lodge, Hill Station, Freetown, Monday 30 November 2020 – Head of Delegation of the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM, Targeted Review Mission from the continental secretariat, Ambassador Dr Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, has congratulated His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio on Sierra Leone’s exemplary efforts at managing COVID-19.

“We are amazed at your strategy and the many gains. Sierra Leone has set the pace for other member states of the APRM to improve their health sector during this pandemic,” she noted, adding that the mission team, comprising the lead panelist for Sierra Leone, three local and one international consultants, was visiting to enhance the capacity of APRM member countries to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Continental Secretariat has identified four APRM member states: Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Niger and Chad to conduct Targeted Reviews on National Response to COVID-19. Thank you President Bio for the opportunity to have firsthand knowledge and experience of the country’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19,” she said. 

She further stated that the team explored measures and strategies employed by the Government of Sierra Leone to mitigate the spread and consequences of COVID-19 and now share the country’s success story with other African states and the rest of the world.

“There’s effectiveness in the fight against COVID-19. The lessons are quite amazing and we are pleased to tell you that Sierra Leoneans are quite honoured by your stance, particularly the involvement of youths and women in the fight against COVID-19,” she explained.

At the same time as when he was introducing the APRM members to his boss, Sierra Leone’s Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, said the team had spent days in the country to review the nation’s gains in the fight against Coronavirus, especially around the achievements made, lessons learnt and challenges surmounted.

In his remarks to the findings, President Dr Julius Maada Bio welcomed the mission team to the country, extend best wishes and thanks to the APRM Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Eddy Maloka, and congratulated them for selecting Sierra Leone, among other APRM countries, for the country assessment.

“Sierra Leone is encouraged by international assessments that help us evaluate our progress along key indicators. We recently passed 13 out of 20 indicators in the Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard. I am also gratified that the Centre for Diseases Control has listed Sierra Leone as one of only 4 countries in Africa rated as Level 1, which is low,” he said. 

He said when his government anticipated the outbreak they had to plan before they activated all national response structures like the Emergency Operations Centre and eventually desegregated the structure in all districts.

Head of Mission Team, Ambassador Dr Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika

“We engaged and collaborated with partners, intensified preventive public health communication at all levels and set up social mobilisation and risk communication teams. We instituted lives and livelihoods-first approach that always and only used well-considered decisions, made sure that all our decisions and actions have been intentional and informed by data and science,” he said.

President Bio further emphasised that before and immediately after the outbreak his government set up a scientific and technical advisory team to regularly meet and make decisions predicated on real-time epidemiological and scientific data. He said they also set up a situation room to aggregate surveillance and contact tracing data on a daily basis and developed protocols by taking into consideration the worst-case scenarios.

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