Dr. Ousmane Touré, a young doctor and public health emergencies specialist whose commitment and expertise served PAHO and WHO in the fight against Cholera in Haiti and Ebola in West Africa tragically lost his life in a collapsed building following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14, 2021.
“We are devastated by the loss of Ousmane, a dedicated medical doctor who supported our response in Haiti” said Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr. Carissa F. Etienne. “He will be extremely missed by his colleagues and friends at PAHO and the World Health Organization (WHO). Our deepest sympathies are extended to his own family – his wife and two daughters.”
“Dr. Touré’s loss is emblematic of the dangers health workers face and the extraordinary sacrifices they have made during this pandemic”, she added.
Dr. Touré, a native of Guinea, began his work with WHO in his own country, where he supported the polio eradication program from 2009 to 2013. From 2014 to 2016, he assisted in the WHO’s Ebola response in Guinea. He was then deployed to Haiti as a field coordinator in the PAHO/WHO cholera response from 2017 through 2018.
Subsequently, in November 2018, he returned to West Africa to work as field epidemiologist in WHO’s Ebola response team in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He developed great expertise in epidemic investigation, surveillance systems, immunization implementation, and disease control in pre- and post-emergency situations. Dr Touré arrived in Haiti in July 2021 to work for PAHO as an international consultant in health emergencies as part of the COVID-19 response.
“Over the years Ousmane worked in some of the most difficult places, assisting communities who found themselves in difficult and dangerous situations,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It is tragic to lose Ousmane in the line of duty. His selfless dedication was admired by his peers and greatly appreciated by the colleagues he served.”
Fluent in French, English, Susu, Mandingo, and Fulah, Dr. Touré earned his Medical Doctorate and master’s degree in Biostatics from the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry, Republic of Guinea, in 2010 and 2011 respectively. At the time of his untimely loss, Dr. Touré was studying a Masters Advanced in Public Health at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and a Masters in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the KALU Institute, Humanitarian Aid Studies Centre in Madrid, Spain.