COVID-19 Gap Tracker Results for Citizens Trust and Confidence in Government COVID-19 Response


We collaborated with SIERRAEYE Magazine to conduct a public perception survey to determine citizens’ level of trust and confidence in Sierra Leone’s government COVID-19 response. The study was conducted between 27 – 29th of May 2020 and captured respondents in Sierra Leone’s most cosmopolitan cities -Freetown and Bo cities. The total number of respondents is 589. Respondents were randomly selected from major crowded streets in Freetown and Bo. The findings are organized to reflect an aggregation of data from both cities.

Our Target

We targeted 589 citizens in Freetown and Bo cities in Sierra Leone.


64%of respondents believe coronavirus is in Sierra Leone while 36% of people interviewed said there is no coronavirus in Sierra Leone.

Community Intervention Suggestion

There is an encouraging number of people who believe that coronavirus is real and in Sierra Leone. However, 36% of respondents are still in denial of the existence of coronavirus in Sierra Leone. Stakeholders can possibly help convince people in denial by working with survivors(who consent) to give first hand accounts of of their experiences. These accounts can be translated into various messages in different local languages and could be desseminated using various media for public consumption.

63% of respondents believe the government is not handling COVID-19 response well. Only 37% of respondents believe the government is doing a good job with COVID -19 response.

Community Intervention Suggestion

 One of the reasons leading to the high citizen disaproval of  government COVID-19 response is due to government’s lack of consistent enforcements of public health emergency laws put in place to protect communities. Government can improve on its public approval on COVID-19 response by providing agency by consistently enforcing public health protocols.

The mean score for respondents’ levels of trust in daily published coronavirus results by the government is 2.13 (1 is the lowest rating and 5 is the highest rating score).

Community Intervention Suggestion

Due to several mistakes made by government in reporting daily coronavirus figures before, most people lost trust in the authenticity and validity of results. Government can improve on citizens trust  by avoiding making future mistakes in reporting daily coronavirus cases. The use of community leaders/influencers in endorsing daily results may also help in improving public trust.

66% of respondents believe the government is over-reporting daily confirmed cases of coronavirus while 28% of respondents believe the government is reporting actual confirmed cases. 6% of respondents believe the government is under-reporting confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Community Intervention Suggestion

 Most people believe over reporting coronavirus cases works for government as it helps them attract more funds from donors. The government can change public perception through designed messages directed at improving citizens trust in government’s daily coronavirus updates.


57% of respondents believe the government is not doing everything possible to end coronavirus. Only 43% of respondents believe the government is doing everything in their powers to put an end to the outbreak.

Community Intervention Suggestion

 Communication gaps on other government’s COVID-19 response/activities appears to be a major reason for most people believing that government is not doing much to end coronavirus. Government can promote openess through designing community engaging programmes that highlights other government activities in line with daily publications of COVID-19 results.

43% of respondents are with the opinion that stealing coronavirus funds is the top priority of those heading the government’s coronavirus response center. 39% of respondents on the other hand believe that the top priority of those heading the government response center is to end coronavirus. 15%  of respondents are with the opinion that politics is a top priority for those heading the centers.

Community Intervention Suggestion

Government can promote more transparency with the use of coronavirus funds. One primary way to do this is to ensure that COVID-19 response budgets are made publicly available for citizens to access. 

62% of respondents said they would not do a voluntary coronavirus test with a government or an EOC testing facility. 38% of respondents are willing to do a voluntary coronavirus test.

Citizens awarded a mean score of 2.00 when asked to rate the competency of government appointees to head Sierra Leone COVID-19 response. 1 is the lowest rating and 5 is the highest rating score).

58% of respondents believe the government’s recent purchase of 30 vehicles and 100 motorbikes is for COVID-19 response effort is unnecessary. 42% of people interviewed believe it is necessary.

40% of respondents believe paying health care workers on time should be the most important concern for the government to address now. 31% want the government to buy more coronavirus test kits. Another 26% of respondents believe ensuring the safety of health care workers is the most important concern for the government to address. While only 3% of respondents want the government to buy more cars and motorbikes to support COVID-19 response efforts.

98% of respondents would like the Anti-Corruption Commission to launch an investigation into the use of coronavirus funds.

The mean rating score on the government’s level of transparency and accountability with COVID-19 response is 2.00 and 2.01 respectively (1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest rating score).

82% of respondents check for coronavirus updates daily. 6% and 4% of people interviewed only check once a week and twice a week respectively. Only 8% of respondents who do not check for coronavirus updates.

40% and 30% of respondents check for coronavirus updates by television and the internet (social media), respectively. 22% of respondents check for updates via radio. Only 6% of respondents access coronavirus updates by word of mouth.

55% respondents are males while and 45% of respondents are females.

Who can use our COVID-19 Gap Tracker Results?

Our gap tracker results can be used by all stakeholders directly involved in the fight against COVID-19 in Sierra Leone. We particularly encourage Civil Society Organizations(CSO) and newsrooms  to use our results and advocate for COVID-19 response gaps to be addressed by the central and local governments and partners.

How to Get Involved?

Our aim is to promote advocacy for citizens through the use of data and design thinking in order to build valuable information and design community intervention approach that stakeholders can adapt to address any identified COVID-19 response gaps existing among citizens. Hence, we welcome all partnerships and sponsorship committed to supporting us achieve our aim.

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