Sierra Leone

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Why I stopped charging my patients for consultations

Dr Bailor Barrie saw the health service in Sierra Leone failing patients
Mohamed Bailor Barrie risked his life to become a doctor during Sierra Leone's civil war. However, he soon discovered that the health service in the country was unaffordable for the people he wanted to help. He explains why he stopped charging some of his patients for consultations and how this led him to establish the Wellbody Alliance to help improve health care in Kono district, Sierra Leone.

(Photo: Dr Mohamed Bailor Barrie. Credit: Dr Mohamed Bailor Barrie)

Fight to end pregnant schoolgirl ban in Sierra Leone

Human rights' groups in Sierra Leone have filed a case with West African regional group Ecowas in a bid to lift a ban on pregnant girls attending schools in the country.

The case also seeks to hold the Sierra Leone government to account for "their failure to respect, protect, and fulfill the girls’ right to education", Equality Now, on of the rights groups that have brought the case to Ecowas, wrote in a press statement.

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In April 2015 - just as schools re-opened after the Ebola crisis - the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology issued a statement banning pregnant girls from mainstream education and from sitting exams.

The girls were thought to be a bad influence on their peers.

“Today marks the beginning of the realization of rights for girls in Sierra Leone,” Judy Gitau-Nkuranga from Equality Now said.

Missing Commonwealth athletes 'must hand themselves in'

Hywel Griffith

BBC News, Sydney

large sign at Oxenford Studios ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on April 3, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.

More than a dozen African athletes who disappeared while competing in the Commonwealth Games in Australia have been told to hand themselves in or leave the country before the end of the day.

The competitors from Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone all disappeared from their accommodation on the Gold Coast - some without even competing.

Their visas all run out today.

The Cameroon team chef de mission branded his country's missing boxers and weightlifters "deserters".

Until now they have been in the country legally, but in order to remain they must lodge a formal claim for refugee status before their visas expire, at the end of the day.

The BBC understands several athletes have taken legal advice from an asylum resource centre in Melbourne - others are understood to have travelled to Sydney and Brisbane.

The Australian government has told the athletes to hand themselves in or enforcement action will be taken - warning that anyone without a valid visa will be tracked down, detained and deported.

Could Sierra Leone's deadly landslide have been prevented?

A new film looks into the causes of the landslides that hit Sierra Leone in 2017
In August last year, the side of Sugar Loaf mountain in Sierra Leone collapsed after days of heavy rains. For many, coming to terms with what happened hasn't been easy - and many in Freetown are still asking: could such a tragedy have been prevented? A new documentary film released by the Thomson Reuters Foundation: 'Falling Freetown', has been looking for answers.

Photo: A widow speaks to journalists about the loss of her husband in the mudslides that hit Freetown in 2017.
Credits: AFP/Getty Images

Plymouth commandos rescue ferry in Sierra Leone

Jenna Hawkey

BBC News Online

Royal Marines from Devon came to the rescue of stranded ferry passengers stuck for three hours in sweltering heat in Sierra Leone.

A team of four marines from 42 Commando, normally based at Bickleigh outside Plymouth, came across the stricken vessel while they were training with the local military off the capital, Freetown.

The marines tried to fix the fault but couldn't get the engines working again. Some of the passengers were evacuated before more fuel could be delivered to get the ferry moving again.

Sierra Leone declares 'national cleaning' days

Julius Maada Bio
Julius Maada Bio has ruled the country briefly before

Sierra Leone new president has declared "national cleaning" days as part of a campaign to improve hygiene.

Julius Maada Bio said in a statement that the cleaning day will be held on the first Saturday of each month from 7:00am to 12:00 noon.

The first one will be held on 5 May.

Another decree, aimed at improving productivity, requires civil servants to work between 8.30am and 4.45pm from Monday to Friday.

The president said that he and his deputy will conduct spot-checks to ensure the rules are being obeyed.

Past governments have had monthly clean-up exercises which involve picking rubbish, plating trees and repainting walls.

A trader in the capital, Freetown, told AFP news agency that he supported the clean-up day.

"Our greatest problem as people is laziness and lack of discipline and I hope our new president will enforce the laws for change of attitude," he said.

President Bio took office last weekend after narrowly beating ruling party candidate Samura Kamara in a run-off.

Read: Find out more about Sierra Leone

Civilians displaced by post-election violence in Sierra Leone

Sporadic violence has been affecting the country during and after the recent elections
The new president of the West Africa nation of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, has set up a cross party committee to address post-election violence in his country.The move follows complaints of political violence and intimidation in the wake of the recent elections. Civilians living in the northern part of the country have fled their homes after reprisal attacks, as reports the BBC's Umaru Fofana.

(Picture: Internally displaced people in Masingbi. Credit: BBC/Umaru Fofana)