Jhpiego Staff Safe After Terror Attack

BALTIMORE, Jan. 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Jhpiego health informatics advisor was rescued by French troops early Saturday, following a terrorist attack at a Burkina Faso hotel where he was staying during a work trip for the global health nonprofit organization and Johns Hopkins affiliate.

Edward Bunker, who is based in Jhpiego's Baltimore headquarters, was a guest at the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou preparing for his departure when the hotel, a favorite of Westerners, came under attack by militants. He was visiting the West African country to assist Jhpiego's country office with its information and data systems related to health programs.

Bunker recounted the Friday night attack in an interview with the BBC, describing the gunfire and chaotic events "like a scene out of a movie." Bunker credited Jhpiego's Global Human Resources team in Baltimore, their security consultant, and "good wifi" for getting him through the ordeal safely.

"I ended up spending the night in my bathroom with my computer and - luckily - a good wifi connection," the affable Bunker told the BBC. "I was able to get in touch with family and friends and crucially also a security consultant from my organization as well as the US embassy. It was amazing how quickly the night passed and I was thankful to have the internet for the whole time. In fact, it was a great distraction to catch up on emails and pretend it was a normal working day."

Leslie Mancuso, Jhpiego's CEO and President, was kept informed of the situation until Bunker was out of the hotel. Jhpiego's global human resources staff were in constant contact with his family. "Jhpiego is a close partner of the government of Burkina Faso and we are terribly saddened by this tragic event and the loss of 26 lives," said Mancuso. "Our employees are safe and I'm extremely thankful for that. Our prayers are with the people of Burkina Faso."

Jhpiego has been working in Burkina Faso since 1996, assisting the government strengthen its health system and prevent the needless deaths of women and their families. Jhpiego helps develop and implement programs in maternal and child health, reproductive health cervical cancer prevention and treatment, malaria prevention and treatment and family planning.

Bunker, who lives in Baltimore, joined Jhpiego in 2009. He is Health Informatics Advisor there, Associate Director of the Public Health Informatics Certificate Training Program in the Hopkins' Department of Health Policy and Management; and associate instructor in the university's Department of International Health.

About Jhpiego

Jhpiego (pronounced "ja-pie-go"), is an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. For 42 years, Jhpiego has empowered front-line health workers by designing and implementing effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for women and their families. Jhpiego works to break down barriers to high-quality health care for the world's most vulnerable populations. For more information go to www.jhpiego.org.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=38492

CONTACT: Ann LoLordo, Jhpiego, Director of Editorial and Communications, ann.lolordo@jhpiego.org 443-831-3834

Source: Jhpiego