The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed shock and sadness at the killing of its polio field surveillance officer in Bentiu city in South Sudan and condemns the violent death.
Daniel Deng Galuak was shot dead by an unidentified attacker at a health facility in Bieh Internally Displaced Persons camp in the northern Bentiu city in Unity State on 19 September 2022. The motive behind the attack is yet to be established.
“We are deeply shocked by Galuak’s death. Our hearts go out to his family at this most difficult and sorrowful time,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “This attack has robbed a family of a beloved member and WHO of a committed frontline health worker.”
Galuak’s death is a huge loss not only to his family, but to the efforts by WHO and partners in health emergency response in South Sudan and the important work of protecting children from the debilitating and potentially life-long impacts of polio.
“Access to health care is a basic right and those working tirelessly in many parts of the South Sudan to provide life-saving humanitarian services to the most vulnerable populations must not be targeted,” said Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative in South Sudan.
Galuak worked for WHO as a field assistant from 2000 to 2015 and as a field supervisor from 2016. His responsibilities included ensuring effective polio surveillance, planning and conducting polio supplementary immunization and coordinating routine immunization activities.
WHO will continue to work with partners to support the government in reaching the most vulnerable populations with health services in South Sudan.