Simon Akam

Photography: West Africa

Aliyatu Abdulai, a Sierra Leonean Maternal and Child Health Aide, adminsters a vaccine to a child in the village of Sembehun 17, outside the town of Bo in the south-east of the West African country. REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).
  
Guinean acrobats perform at a ceremony to mark Sierra Leone's 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Stadium in the country's capital Freetown. Guinea borders Sierra Leone and the Guinean president came to the ceremony in Freetown. REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).
  
Maduu Kargbo sits with a bandaged head at the community health centre in the town of Bumbuna in central Sierra Leone. Beaten by police during a land dispute, the mother of five was barely able to speak. REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).
     
  
A Mongolian soldier stands in the compound of the Special Court for Sierra Leone after a ceremony to commemorate the  withdrawal of the last peacekeepers from the country. REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).
  
Election officials sit around a ballot box in a polling station in the village of Njala in Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone during a by-election. REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).
  
Ivorian refugees shelter in a school room in the town of Jarzon in Grand Gedeh County in Liberia. After the disputed presidential poll in Ivory Coast refugees poured into neighbouring Liberia. REUTERS/Simon Akam (LIBERIA).
     
  
An ecologist extracts a sample of blood from rodent Mastomys Natalensis in the village of Jormu in southeastern Sierra Leone. Mastomys Natalensis carries the virus that causes Lassa viral hemorrhagic fever. REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).
  
A almudu or student sits behind a sheet of Arabic text at the dara or religious school in the Gambian village of Daru Relwan. (THE INDEPENDENT/Simon Akam)
  
Contestants from Nigeria and Cote D'Ivoire backstage at the Miss ECOWAS pan-African beautypageant in Freetown. (REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).
     
  
Former street children at the drop-in centre operated by Help a Needy Child in Sierra Leone in the town of Makeni in the centre of the West African country. HANCi-SL seeks to reunite the girls with their parents and return them to education or training. (THE INDEPENDENT/Simon Akam)
  
A dancer dressed in Sierra Leone's national colours of green, white and blue at a ceremony to celebrate the country's 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Stadium in the capital Freetown. REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE).