The Sierra Leone research programme
The SLRC Sierra Leone country research programme began in April 2013 and initially focused on state capacity to address the country’s high malnutrition rates. The research sought to understand why and how, despite multiple and ongoing efforts at prevention, malnutrition rates in Sierra Leone remain so high. Taking as its starting point Irish Aid-supported partnerships with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to build capacity to prevent malnutrition in Sierra Leone at the national, district and community level, the programme aimed to generate useful and relevant findings which would contribute towards evidence-informed policy making around this important issue.
Over time, the SLRC research also focused on:
- Strengthening state capacity to prevent malnutrition;
- Health systems strengthening since the end of the civil war;
- Improving efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy.
This evolution in research focus occurred largely in response to the emergence of the Ebola epidemic in 2014. This led to an expansion of the initial malnutrition research to look at how health sector support more broadly could be improved in the wake of Ebola. Following this, in 2015-16, the research shifted again to understand and better respond to the increase in teenage pregnancy that occurred during the epidemic.