Sierra Leone: Stats SL to Collaborate With John Hopkins University On Ebola Survivors Study

Stats SL is all set to collaborate with the John Hopkins University, which is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States, to conduct an Ebola survivors study

.Whilst on a visit to the Stats SL headquarters on AJ Momoh Street in Freetown on Tuesday 7th January 2020, Associate Professor Philip Anglewicz, from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public health said that the visit was aimed at finding a common ground of collaboration with Stats SL on the planned study.

He indicated that being that the epidemic ended five years ago, the research is important so that the social features of Ebola, which has attracted very little research, can be established, adding that the research will focus on the long term impact of Ebola on people's health and demographic outcomes.

He mentioned that his institution believes that Ebola can have more than just physical health impact and that it can further impact mental health, influence migration patterns and even impact marriage and child bearing.

"The main goal of the study is to look at the long term impact of Ebola and the social and demographic outcomes. The study will cover three groups of people. Group one will consist of people who were infected with Ebola and survived, group two will involve the people who lived in the households of people who were infected with Ebola and group three will consist of people who themselves and no one in their household was infected with Ebola," he said.

He further said they want to identify enumeration areas in three districts namely Kono, Kailahun and Kenema, adding that the group one survivors sample size list consists of 350 people, group two consists of 400 people and group three will also be 400 making it a total of 1100 sample size and all these samples will be drawn from the Eastern Province.

He concluded by stating that the mapping and listing for the study will be done in early May and data collection is to start in July and end in October 2020 and that they got funding from the National Institute of Health in the US with a small grant to conduct this survey but that they were hoping to get a larger grant that will trigger an Ebola study that will be nationally representated.

Giving her own take, Clinical Assistant Professor, Lina Moses, from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine said it was to be understood how Ebola survivors and communities that were affected by Ebola are doing.

He continued that their initial concept was to look at Ebola survivors and compare them to family members, household members and dependants of people who died from Ebola, adding that they will do a census of Ebola survivors in the Eastern Province and then the third group will be a population based sample from the communities that were affected by Ebola.

"Utilising the work that Stats SL has done will bring a lot of scientific rigor to having this comparism group that is a population based sample. To successfully conduct this study, the population size and enumeration areas have to be provided by Stats SL, she said.

The Deputy Statistician general, Andrew Bob Johnny, assured both Associate Professors that Stats SL has a sample frame from the 2015 population and housing census which he said has enumeration areas.

He made it known to them that stats SL has the required expertise in-house to collaborate and do the study, adding that an MOU be done that will clearly demarcate lines of collaboration and partnership spelling out who does what, when, how and where.

He stressed the need for a spatial component to be included in the analysis of the research so that beautiful maps indicating where the survivors are placed together with other details will be provided.

"Stats SL is committed t to collaborating on the study especially when it hinges on a disease that affected most Sierra Leoneans in more than one way," he said.

He concluded by registering his appreciation to the team from John Hopkins for coming whilst promising to pass on the key agreements and discussions from the meeting to his boss, the Statistician General,Prof Osman Sankoh, who was indisposed to attend.

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