The UN’s senior official for the fight against Ebola in Guinea has been found dead a month after he was appointed to the post.
Rwandan national Marcel Rudasingwa 59, “died suddenly”, Aissata Cisse Yao Yao, of the UN Development Programme, said in a statement which did not reveal the cause. Yao however says Rudasindwa died of natural causes.
At a time when we are focusing all our energies to help Guinea out of the Ebola outbreak, Marcel Rudasingwa made an invaluable contribution which is to be applauded,” Yao added.
Rudasingwa had worked for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for almost 20 years before being appointed as the Ebola Crisis Manager for Guinea. The career UN employee, he had worked in Kenya, Mali, Guinea and Denmark.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Rudasingwa Guinea coordinator for the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) on October 8.
The Head of the UN Mission, Anthony Banbury, said in a statement this morning that in just a short space of time, Mr. Rudasingwa played a pivotal role in the Organization’s and the international community’s response to the Ebola crisis in Guinea.
The deadliest Ebola epidemic has killed more than 5,000 people in west Africa and infected almost three times that number, according to the World Health Organization.
The virus emerged in Guinea at the start of the year and has infected around 1,900 Guineans, killing almost 1,200.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, authorities have declared the end of a separate Ebola outbreak in Equatorial Province.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Moustapha Soumare, praised the national authorities for their rapid and coordinated response, despite what he called “enormous logistical challenges.”
Soumare paid tribute to the bravery of aid teams, in particular to the eight health workers who died in the early days of the outbreak.