Malaria situation and response

Malaria is endemic in Sierra Leone and is one of the most serious public health challenges. It is the most common cause of illness and death in the country, accounting for approximately 50% of outpatient visits and 38% of hospital admissions. Malaria-related illness contributes 38% and 25% of child and all-ages mortality rates, respectively. The most vulnerable groups include children under the age of five years and pregnant women.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has adopted strategies and interventions for malaria control in the country as proposed by the Roll Back Malaria Change initiative.

National Malaria Strategic Plan

The Sierra Leone National Malaria Strategic Plan 2011-2015 (NMSP) sets out the framework for the way malaria control and prevention is implemented. Other policies that inform implementation are:

  • National Malaria Control Policy
  • Reproductive, New-born and Child Health Strategic Plan 2011-2015
  • Sierra Leone National Food and Nutrition Security Policy 2012-2016
  • National Health Sector Strategic Plan 2010-2015
  • National Water and Sanitation Policy
  • Agenda for Change 2007-2012
  • National Health Policy
  • Reproductive and Child Health Policy

According to a malaria indicator survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with Statistics Sierra Leone in June 2011, 87% of all households in Sierra Leone now own at least one insecticide-treated mosquito net. This was a huge increase from the previous year, when just 33% of households owned one. 95% of all LLINs owned by household were obtained through the national campaign. It was also found that the ownership of LLINs was greater in rural areas (93%) compared to urban areas (74%).

The objective of the NMSP is to reduce the current levels of malaria morbidity by 50% and mortality by 25% by 2015, especially among children under five years of age and pregnant women. Areas of intervention include: early diagnosis and prompt treatment; management of uncomplicated and severe malaria; community case management of malaria; prevention during pregnancy; integrated vector management; long-lasting insecticide treated nets; indoor residual spraying; environmental management; advocacy; information, education and communication; and surveillance.

The NMCP is responsible for the coordination of malaria control activities in the country, in accordance with the on-going decentralization process. At the district level, coordination is carried out by the various district health management teams, in collaboration with local district councils. At the community level, trained health workers serve as a link between the programme, district health management teams and chiefdom/village development committees. The NMCP is committed to ensuring that:

  • every individual has a right to access highly effective malaria preventive services.
  • curative care is delivered as close to the household as possible.

There has been an increase in access to malaria treatment since the government implemented the provision of free medicines in 2012.

RBM partners' activities

Malaria endemic countries

Multilateral development partners



In the news

Four out of every ten people in Sierra Leone possess malaria parasite

23 February 2015, 5:32 am

According to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone, four out of every ten people in the country have the malaria parasite in their blood at one time.

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Research on attitudes towards home-based malaria testing in rural and urban Sierra Leone

15 February 2015, 6:28 pm

Study finds that expanding community case management of malaria in Sierra Leone to include home testing by community health volunteers (CHVs) and family members may increase the proportion of individuals with febrile illnesses who confirm a positive diagnosis prior to initiating treatment.

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Sierra Leone awarded for robust fight against malaria

6 February 2015, 8:00 am

As malaria is part of the central plan of health care programmes in Africa particularly in the last five years, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) in recognition of the tremendous work and improvement made in the fight against malaria, awarded Sierra Leone for her efforts in the fight against and control of Malaria.

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Phase 2 of malaria drug distribution starts in Sierra Leone

19 January 2015, 6:16 am

Almost eight months into the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone has announced they would again administer anti-malarial drug - Artesunate Amodiaquine (AS+AQ) - in the Western Area and other Ebola epicenter districts in the country.

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Mass distribution of malaria drugs in Sierra Leone starts from January 16-19

14 January 2015, 5:46 pm

The National Malaria Control Programme, Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone will be conducting its second cycle of the Mass Drug Administration Campaign from January 16 – 19, 2015 in selected chiefdoms in the Bombali , Kambia, Koinadugu, Moyamba, Port Loko, Tonkolili and in al Wards in the Western Urban.

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Struggling with ebola, losing with malaria

6 January 2015, 9:48 am

While most of us furiously focused all our attention and coverage efforts on Ebola, it turns out we neglected another disease that's claiming even more lives in the region: malaria.

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  • Malaria situation and response
  • Funding shortfalls
  • RBM partners' activities
  • In the news