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Research Article |

Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response to Natural Disaster in Sierra Leone: The Milestone in a Decade

Introduction: The African continent has always been faced with myriads of public health emergencies associated with natural disasters. The level of preparedness for and response to each of the natural disasters, which are most often unanticipated, have been reported to be of varying degrees across the African member states. There is a dearth of knowledge regarding Sierra Leone, which necessitates the need for this study. Objective: The main objective of this study is to unravel the evolutionary trend of Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) towards the natural disaster events in Sierra Leone between 2010 and 2020. Method: This is a descriptive survey study involving a quantitative and qualitative approach with data collection from the desk review of secondary sources and key informants’ interviews. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect primary qualitative data from 77 key informants from multi-sectoral agencies. Data collected were transcribed, coded, and analyzed thematically. Findings were presented in tables, pie and bar charts, and in narrations as appropriate. Results: Three natural disasters (mudslides, flooding, and fire disasters in that order) were perceived by respondents to have occurred most frequently within the decade of the study. Perceived key capacities of Sierra Leone for natural disaster management include coordination and leadership, Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (PHEOC), Epidemiological Surveillance, Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE), Operation Support, and Logistics. While most of these reportedly require improvement, respondents also reiterated the need for strengthening laboratory services and workforce development. On a general note, respondents noted an appreciable evolution of the public health emergency response to natural disasters in Sierra Leone within the decade of study with a perceived need for improvement in the level of preparedness while advocating for more commitments towards formidable recovery measures to be put in place, especially in the communities that are frequently hit by the natural disasters. Conclusion: The varying degrees of the respondents’ perceptions of various thematic areas of this study point to the existence of different statuses in the level of resilience in diverse blocks of the public health emergency response to natural disasters in Sierra Leone. It is hopeful that taking the findings in this study into consideration by relevant stakeholders during policy making in Sierra Leone can serve as the springboard for ensuring a face-lift in the structure and tenacity of the emergency response to the natural disasters in Sierra Leone and the African region, by extension.

Public Health Emergency, Preparedness, Response, Natural Disaster, Sierra Leone

APA Style

Nannie Conteh, I., Chisaka Kasolo, F., Olaiya Abiodun, P., Obi Daniel, E., Fouard Kanu, A., et al. (2023). Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response to Natural Disaster in Sierra Leone: The Milestone in a Decade. World Journal of Public Health, 8(4), 272-279. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.wjph.20230804.14

ACS Style

Nannie Conteh, I.; Chisaka Kasolo, F.; Olaiya Abiodun, P.; Obi Daniel, E.; Fouard Kanu, A., et al. Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response to Natural Disaster in Sierra Leone: The Milestone in a Decade. World J. Public Health 2023, 8(4), 272-279. doi: 10.11648/j.wjph.20230804.14

AMA Style

Nannie Conteh I, Chisaka Kasolo F, Olaiya Abiodun P, Obi Daniel E, Fouard Kanu A, et al. Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response to Natural Disaster in Sierra Leone: The Milestone in a Decade. World J Public Health. 2023;8(4):272-279. doi: 10.11648/j.wjph.20230804.14

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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