Supporting The Public Sector of Sierra Leone
Public spending on education was 2.7 per cent of GDP in 2011. There are six years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises six years and secondary six. Education is a legal requirement for all children, but a shortage of schools and teachers has made i
schools, while limited, do exist in the country and include the American International School of Freetown. Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 59 per cent (2010).
The principal tertiary institutions are Fourah Bay College in Freetown and Njala University, with campuses in Bo and Njala. These universities, together with Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, Eastern Polytechnic and other independent tertiary institutions, are all affiliated to the University of Sierra Leone.
The government’s education plan for 2007–15 is to complete rehabilitation of the country’s education system, after the years of civil war, in order to give all citizens access to quality education. Sierra Leone has also qualified for the World Bank’s Fast Track Initiative, which aims at meeting the education Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All goal that all children complete a full cycle of primary education.
Public spending on health was one per cent of GDP in 2010. Climatic conditions are conducive to the spread of tropical diseases (notably malaria and guinea worm) and civil war has made the country vulnerable to cholera. Infant mortality was 119 per 1,000 live births in 2011 (220 in 1960). In 2011, 1.6 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.
There are about 80 hospitals in the public, private and nongovernmental organisation sectors in Sierra Leone and about 40 pharmacy importers. One of the main private hospitals, Choithram Hospital, is located in Freetown. The largest mission hospital in the country is the Emergency Hospital established by the Italian non-government organisation Emergency, and a key medical training facility is the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences.
The pharmaceutical sector mainly consists of retailers, marketers and local agents of the big international pharmaceutical firms. The country imports almost all of its pharmaceuticals and the Pharmacy Board monitors such importation. The Sierra Leone Pharmacy Business Association is the key business network in the sector.
There are 11,300 km of roads of which eight per cent are paved and many more in need of repair. Secondary roads may be impassable in the rainy season. Sierra Leone is largely dependent on roads for the transportation of both goods and passengers. The railway system (nearly 600 km in length) closed in 1974. Freetown is the main port with a deep-water quay. There are smaller ports at Pepel, Bonthe, Niti and Sulima. Several rivers are navigable by small craft. Several private speedboat charter companies operate in the region. The international airport is at Lungi, 13 km north of Freetown, and is separated from the capital by a river estuary. The Ministry of Transport and Aviation is responsible for providing safe, reliable and affordable transport and aviation and sees it as an essential goal to assist economic recovery and alleviate povertymplementation virtually impossible. Private