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Data and development in Sierra Leone

24th February 2016

The Ebola outbreak was a steep learning curve for everyone from international experts to local nurses. OB Sisay the Head of Sierra Leone's Ebola Situation Room and AGI's Emily Stanger-Sfeile recently described the scale of the challenge that faced the government of Sierra Leone, and how they are learning from it.  

 

"There really was no data" at the beginning of the outbreak, Emily explained, international organisations were flooding in but "there was no central source of information." Winning, what OB describes as, the war on Ebola meant creating a single source of information quickly. That's why AGI supported the government to set up call centres to collect data and the National Situation Room to analyse it, so that life-changing decisions could be made quickly.

Watch these devex interviews to find out why OB believes that lessons from Ebola, on the power of rigorous data analysis and transparency, can change the way the government of Sierra Leone does business. Building on these new skills so that they're "embedded in the DNA of government business" will, he says, "revolutionize [the government's] approach to public administration and delivery."

Sierra Leone is now focused on recovery. Last year’s collapse in commodity prices has hurt its economy and seen growth rates fall from 20% to -21%. In this challenging context, the need to apply Ebola's lessons to recovery is clear.