The availability and quality of medical services in Sierra Leone is poor. Citizens should be aware that you may have difficulty accessing even basic medical services, particularly in remote areas. If you need treatment, you may be asked to pay up front. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or underlying health concerns, you should note that it may not be possible to get appropriate drugs or treatment during your stay. If you choose to travel, bring enough medication with you for the duration of your visit.
Before travelling, we strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you in Sierra Leone for the activities you want to undertake.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak
The last known Ebola-infected patient in Sierra Leone was discharged from hospital on February 5th 2016. Sierra Leone then entered a 42-day period of heightened surveillance, which ended on March 17th 2016, at which point the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone was declared over.
The risk to travellers of contracting Ebola is extremely low. Nonetheless, travellers should exercise due caution. Travellers should avoid being directly exposed to any bodily fluids from a dead or living Ebola-infected person, including through unprotected sexual contact with patients that have recovered from Ebola. If you do become exposed, you should seek rapid medical attention. You should contact the medical care facility by phone before your visit, in order to enable medical personnel to use appropriate protection at the time of admission.
Further information on Ebola is available from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre website.
If you develop fever, unexplained fatigue, diarrhoea or any other severe symptoms while in Sierra Leone, or in the few weeks following your departure from Sierra Leone, you should telephone your GP or Accident and Emergency Department mentioning your symptoms and your travel history, since it may result from an infection like malaria that requires immediate investigation and treatment.
The yellow fever vaccination is an entry requirement for Sierra Leone and a yellow fever vaccination certificate will be requested by border control on arrival in the country.
Malaria, including cerebral malaria which can be fatal within 72 hours, is endemic in Sierra Leone and we strongly recommend using a malaria prophylaxis, together with other precautions such as using bed nets and insect repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers. You should also bring enough malaria treatment for the duration of your visit.
Cholera and other water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, giardia, dysentery and typhoid are also very common, so practise good hygiene, drink and brush your teeth with bottled water only, and avoid eating uncooked vegetables, salads, seafood and meats.
Other diseases including but not limited to, rabies, HIV, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, polio and Lassa fever are also present in some parts of Sierra Leone and can pose a risk.
Thu, 08 Jun 2017 09:43:43 BST