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Sierra Leone was hit by the Ebola outbreak in May 2014 and in July the President has declared the State of Public Emergency acknowledging the fast deterioration of the situation and the need to enhance the response. Despite the national and international current focus on Ebola, Sierra Leone still faces some of the worst development challenges, malnutrition and under 5 child mortality are among these.
In 2013, according to UNICEF data, Sierra Leone was ranked first for under 5 child mortality (185/1000). This situation is expected to deteriorate as consequence of the Ebola Outbreak where basic health services are not provided to pregnant and lactating women and children under 5. Likewise, despite the national SMART survey conducted over the summer 2014 showed an improvement in the malnutrition rates compare to the data of the 2010 SMART survey (GAM 6.9% in 2010 and 4.7% in 2014), rates are expected to worsen as indirect consequence of the Ebola outbreak. Indeed, the fear of health staff to contract Ebola while providing routine health services due to the low preparedness and safety measures in place to handle potential Ebola patients; and the fear of the communities in getting infected by attending health facilities have resulted in a decrease in the attendance to health facilities by the communities as well as a decrease in the provision of basic health services by health staff. Furthermore, recent assessments conducted by FAO, WFP, ACF and others partners are showing a deterioration of the food security situation with a decrease in agricultural production, slowdown of the trade that are impacting on the households livelihood.