WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Sambo visits bomb victims in Abuja, Nigeria

5 Sep 2011

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Sambo visits bomb victims in Abuja, Nigeria

Abuja 3 September 2011 -- The WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Luis Gomes Sambo arrived in Abuja on Saturday 3 September 2011 to visit victims of the bomb attack on the United Nations house. He was met on arrival at the Abuja International Airport by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr Linus Awute and the WHO Representative in Nigeria Dr David Okello.

On the first leg of the trip, Dr Sambo visited the UN House where he met with the UN Resident Coordinator Mr Dauda Toure and other officials of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS). He was led on a tour of the building to assess the extent of the damage.

The Regional Director also visited the Abuja National Hospital in Abuja to commiserate with victims of the bomb blast who are still on admission. At a meeting with senior officials of the hospital, he regretted the deaths of staff while working to improve people's lives, and expressed condolences to their families.

He thanked the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council and all staff at the Abuja National Hospital for the exemplary execution of their professional duties that averted further loss of lives. "None of those injured died at this hospital. I congratulate and thank you for the prompt reaction, dedicated and quality work," he said.

Drawing attention to the role of the UN family, Dr Sambo noted that the UN remains very relevant and committed to development in the world, Africa and Nigeria in particular. He said: "In spite of this crisis, the World Health Organization will do all that is possible to boost the morale of its staff to ensure the required technical cooperation to achieve Nigeria's national health goals".

"The Director-General of WHO and myself will spare no efforts in supporting all staff affected by this incident", he added. Dr Sambo also thanked the United Nations Resident Coordinator for his effective leadership in coordinating the response of the UN family during the crisis.

On the third leg of the visit, he met members of the crisis management team of WHO Country Office in Nigeria. He commended them for the work well done and provided them with guidance for business continuity.

On Friday 26th August, a suicide bomber rammed a car loaded with a bomb into the United Nations building killing 23 people and injuring others.