Sierra Leone

African Journals OnLine (AJOL) – an online service to provide access to African-published research and to increase worldwide knowledge of indigenous scholarship – lists one Open Access Journal in Sierra Leone: The Sierra Leone Journal of Biomedical Research published by College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone.

Researchers from Sierra Leone publish articles in international Open Access journals, for example 16 articles have been published with BioMed Central – an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the Open Access publishing model – and among them are articles by researchers from the College of Medicine and Allied Health Science, University of Sierra Leone, Helen Keller International, Lassa Fever Laboratory - Kenema Government Hospital, Médecins Sans Frontières, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, National HIV/AIDS Secretariat, National Leprosy/TB Reference Laboratory, Njala University/Mercy Hospital Research Laboratory, Princess Christian Maternity and Children's Hospital and World Health Organization Country Office. 

Enabling Environment:

The 2005 Universities Act restructured the system of higher education to establish two universities: the Njala University and the University of Sierra Leone. A new University of Sierra Leone was reconstituted comprising Fourah Bay College, founded in 1827, the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), founded in 1980, and the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), founded in 1988. Njala University College which used to be a constituent College of the former University of Sierra Leone is now an autonomous institution renamed Njala University. All the major tertiary institutions have computer centres for training students and giving concessionary access to staff and students for Internet use.

The 1991 Constitution currently in use asserts that the government shall promote “the study and application of modern science, technology, commerce and business.” The government facilitates the widespread use of ICTs through: creating a regulatory environment for the harmonious development of ICTs; improving the human resources capacity for ICT usage; promoting and facilitating private sector participation in ICTs; and establishing linkages with regional and international ICT organizations and institutions. Several strategies have been suggested for meeting the objective, including:

  • ensuring the acquisition, production and distribution of instructional and educational materials, and basic electronic media and other facilities;
  • establishing Internet facilities in schools and higher education institutions to improve ICT literacy, standards, practices and guidelines for the development and acceleration of the exploitation of the technology;
  • transforming the traditional public library systems into a network of electronic libraries and establishing new ones;
  • establishing an ICT centre of excellence where intensive, practical and quality training courses can be provided to reorient professionals and other workers in the public and private sectors;
  • creating an enabling environment and incentives for private sector investments in the manufacturing of a selected range of ICT components and equipment;
  • and promoting regional, sub-regional, bilateral and multilateral co-operation in ICTs.

(Based on Environmental Scan on Education in Sierra Leone with Particular Reference to Open and Distance Learning and Information and Communication Technologies prepared by A.M. Alghali, Edward D.A. Turay, Ekundayo J.D. Thompson and Joseph B.A. Kandeh on behalf of the Commonwealth of Learning for presentation at a national forum in Freetown, Sierra Leone).

Potential Barriers:

Students in Sierra Leone lack necessary computer skills. There are not enough computers to service the student population. Cost of related Internet support services are high and the services are not always reliable. There is also a lack of regular and reliable electricity supply.

Major Projects/Initiatives:

The Sierra Leone Journal of Biomedical Research publishes papers in all fields of medicine and allied health sciences including basic medical sciences, clinical sciences, dental sciences, behavioural sciences, biomedical engineering, molecular biology, pharmaceutical sciences, biotechnology in relation to medicine, environment and health, nursing sciences, health education and primary health care. The journal provides Open Access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. The journal was launched in 2009 and is published twice a year. Editor-in-Chief is Professor Sahr M Gevao, Consultant Haematologist, Department of Haematology, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone; and Editorial Board members are Dr Foday Sahr, Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra, Dr Oyewole Israel, Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra, and Dr Mohamd H Samai, Department of Pharmacology, College ofMedicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone.

Details of Key Organizations:

The Sierra Leone Journal of Biomedical Research: Dr Solayide Adesida, Managing Editor, University of Sierra Leone, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, New England, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Tel.: +232-33-805221, sljbr(at)yahoo.com.

 

(Modified on December 2013)

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