World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Health Care and Vaccinations

Title Special precautions
Hepatitis A Yes
Diphtheria Yes
Yellow Fever Yes
Typhoid Yes
Tetanus Yes
Rabies Yes
Malaria Yes

* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is necessary from all visitors arriving from infected regions.

For high-risk individuals, a Cholera vaccination is also recommended.

Health Care

Medical facilities are extremely limited. Missions and foreign aid organisations provide some medical facilities. Health insurance is essential. It is advisable to take personal medical supplies.

Emergency medical services are underdeveloped, and therefore it is advisable to be carrying a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy with you at all times so that you can contact them in case of an emergency. They will advise you on the best course of action to take in your particular circumstance.

If taken ill in Sierra Leone, the best suggestion is to travel to the nearest major town (Bo or Freetown are best equipped). You can find a list of medical facilities and practitioners put together by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office here:

Pharmacies can be found in all major towns and are usually concentrated around one particular area. Ask for the nearest pharmacy for directions.

Food and Drink

All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

Other Risks

Avoid swimming and paddling in freshwater; swimming pools which are well chlorinated and maintained are safe. There is a high incidence of HIV/AIDS. Vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. Other common diseases in Sierra Leone include Rabies, Lassa fever, water-borne diseases, malaria and other tropical diseases.

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