Seven people were killed last week in the attack on a UN vehicle in Garowe, Somalia, four of which were UNICEF workers. Five others were injured. Two of those killed were polio workers with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) who brought polio and routine immunizations to the area.
According to the GPEI, the two polio workers have been identified as Mr. Payenda Gul Abed, an experienced polio eradicator who has worked to protect children in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Somalia. In addition, Ms. Brenda Kyeyune, who managed social mobilization and communication initiatives in support of polio eradication in Somalia since 2014.
The GPEI said:
The commitment of these colleagues to achieving polio eradication and improving children’s lives was tested in the most challenging circumstances and they were never found wanting. They are true heroes. This is a tremendously difficult time but we are deeply thankful for their accomplishments, and remember them with respect and gratitude.
The number of wild poliovirus cases reported year to date is 22, with 21 cases in Pakistan and one in Afghanistan. This is down dramatically compared to the same period last year (62).
The most recent case on the Horn of Africa had an onset of paralysis on 11 August 2014, was from Hobyo district of Mudug province, central Somalia.