Sierra Leone has been engaged in the MICS process since 1995. It is worthy to note that Sierra Leone is the first country to conduct the sixth round of MICS, which will serve as the baselines to many indicators in the SDGs. Funding support was provided by the Government of Sierra Leone, UNICEF, the European Union, UNFPA, WFP and WHO. The 2017 MICS, had a total sample size of 15,740 households in all the districts and the findings indicates steady improvement in many of the development and social indicators.
“Quality data is very critical to development planning,” said Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. “This report is very useful as it contains key data on various issues affecting the country’s population, especially children and women.”
School attendance has generally improved – 81.8 per cent attend primary school; 36.2 percent junior secondary school and 28.6 percent senior secondary school. Only 11.5 per cent of children attend early childhood education, doubling the last MICS data in 2010 which was 5.5 per cent.
In Health, under five and infant mortality rates has decreased from 217/1,000 and 128/1,000 to 94/1,000 and 56/1,000 live births respectively. Stunting or severe malnutrition is 26 per cent and ‘wasting’ or children (18 – 23 months old) who are underweight is 8 per cent.
Water and Sanitation data reveals that 58 percent of people have access to clean drinking water and 16.4 per cent have access to basic sanitation. Open defecation is practiced by 17.1 percent of the population, which shows some level of improvements in attitude and behavior.
Eight in 10 women and nine in 10 men know how to prevent HIV by using condoms or avoid multiple sexual partners.
On Child Protection, 81.1 per cent of children are registered but only 52.9 per cent have birth certificates. One in five adolescent girls (15 – 19-year-old) is married with 10 percent before age 15 and 28 per cent before age 18. Eighty percent of women (15 – 49-year-old) have undergone Female Genital Cutting with higher prevalence rates in the rural areas. Thirty-nine per cent of children are involved in some forms of child labour.
“Today marks the culmination of a long and intense process of data collection and analysis,” said Rushnan Murtaza, OIC, UNICEF Sierra Leone. “This MICS6 survey report can help pave the way for a brighter future for all Sierra Leonean children.”
Over the past 20 years, the MICS has evolved to respond to changing data needs, expanding from 28 indicators in the first round in 1995 to 200 in the current sixth round. Since the commencement of MICS globally, close to 300 surveys have been conducted in more than 100 countries.