Sierra Leone has long been reputed to be a country of civil unrest, war and poverty. However, in recent years things have stabilised and Sierra Leone is beginning to establish itself as a country with real potential attracting both business and investment.
Mining of diamonds, gold and other precious metals and the recent discovery of oil has led to a surge in business in Sierra Leone with plenty of people required to make business trips there on behalf of multi-national organisations. As it is still very much considered a developing country there are a number of health precautions you should take if you are intending to visit Sierra Leone.
The whole of Sierra Leone including the cities are considered to have a high risk of Malaria. This means that prescription anti-malarial medication should be taken by anyone visiting the country. Malaria is spread via the bite of infected mosquitoes. As well as taking anti-malarial medication, it is essential to use a DEET based mosquito repellent on any exposed skin. Mosquitoes can carry a number of other diseases for which we do not have vaccinations for, such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya Fever and bite prevention is the only way to fully avoid these diseases. If you are staying in a high-grade hotel then using the air conditioning in your room will help to prevent mosquitoes. If there is no air conditioning then a plug in repellent as well as a mosquito net above the bed can help reduce the chance of being bitten.
There are a number of vaccines that are essential to anyone visiting Sierra Leone. Yellow Fever is vital as the vaccine comes with a proof of vaccination certificate which you may need to enter the country. Ensure you get this at least 10 days before travel to ensure the vaccine is fully effective and that your certificate is valid. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are also important as these diseases are spread via contaminated food and water so everyone is at risk. It is recommended that the Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio vaccination is up to date. This is a childhood vaccine but needs to be boosted every 10-years as an adult. You ideally need to have these vaccines at least 10-days before travel for best effectiveness but late is better than never. For anyone travelling to remote areas, for long trips or those staying with locals then additional vaccinations may be required. These include Meningitis ACWY, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Cholera. Some of these vaccinations require courses that can take a whole month to complete, so it is best to plan as early and book a consultation with a London Travel Clinic nurse to ensure you can travel safely.
It is important to remember to only drink bottled or sterilised water in Sierra Leone and ensure all food is fresh and thoroughly cook before you eat it. It is common for travellers to West Africa to contract stomach bugs due to the change in diet and differing bacteria, so be sure to pack some Imodium and Re-Hydration salts. Or if you want to be fully prepared then we sell ready-made Tummy Kits, which contain anti-biotics that will directly treat the cause of the bug instead of just the symptoms.
Book a free consultation with one of our travel health nurses now to discuss everything you need as you prepare to visit this incredible country.