Sierra Leone

Key messages for primary care practitioners

  • If the patient is new to the UK explain to them how the NHS operates and discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they've been used to.
  • Screen all new entrants (including children) from this country for TB.
  • All patients from this country should be offered and recommended an HIV test.
  • Sexually active individuals should be offered a full sexual health screen and safer sex health promotion advice.
  • This country has a high prevalence of hepatitis B. Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived.
  • This country has a considerably higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK.  Consider screening for hepatitis C.
  • There is a high risk of malaria in this country.
  • Ensure all patients are up to date with the UK immunisation schedule.  
  • There is a high risk of anaemia in people from this country. Be alert to this possibility in recently arrived migrants, particularly for women and pre-school children, and test as clinically indicated.
  • Consider vitamin D deficiency in individuals who may be at risk as a result of their diet, skin colour or lack of sun exposure.
  • There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in this country.
  • Female genital mutilation has been estimated to affect more than 80% of women and girls in this country.

Key Facts

Sierra Leone map

Map courtesy of
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

Country profiles

For a summary of key health indicators and health care

WHO Sierra Leone [external link]

For background information on the country, its government and its people please see

BBC Sierra Leone [external link]


World Factbook Sierra Leone [external link]


English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

See language interpretation


Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, Indigenous beliefs 30%


Migration to the UK

At the time of the 2001 Census there were over 15,000 people from this country living in the UK. There is a long history of migration to the UK from this country. Migrants from this country who are currently living in UK have arrived since the 1960s.


*Source: World Factbook

© Crown Copyright