Fifteen months after the beginning of the Ebola outbreak that caused 3,952 deaths, the last known Ebola patient in Sierra Leone was discharged on Monday. As of this week, no one is Sierra Leone is being treated for Ebola virus disease and there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country according to the World Health Organization.
This is an important milestone on the country’s road to recovery, but Sierra Leone will not be officially “Ebola-free” until it has gone 42 days without a reported case of the disease.
Life has been slowly returning to normal over the past few months, with schools reopening their doors to 1.8 million students in April.
Countries with strong and established education systems are often better prepared when a crisis like the Ebola epidemic hits. Sierra Leone was facing significant education challenges even before the outbreak, but the Ministry of Education and its partners have shown great strength when reopening schools.
During a recent mission of the GPE Country Lead to Freetown, partners referred to the stronger coordination between all education stakeholders during the crisis as an important vector for this success. It shows that the model promoted by the Global Partnership to better coordinate interventions has a positive impact.
The Ministry of Education and its partners, also formally launched the GPE co-funded project called “Revitalizing Education Development in Sierra Leone”, a US$24.4 million program, of which US$2.45 million has been used to support the Ministry’s Ebola Strategic Response Program. The Global Partnership contributes US$17.9 million to the project. The project aims to improve the learning environment in targeted schools with interventions such as performance based financing to schools, support to pre-primary education, distribution of reading books and relevant teacher training and campaigns and support to the Teacher Service Commission to strengthen the teacher management. It also reinforces the education system by establishing a learning assessment system and a more robust and efficient education management information system.