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Thursday, July 29, 2021

WHO Stakeholders Express Concern Over Sex Abuse Allegations

World Health Organization stakeholders have expressed serious concerns about how the organization handled sex abuse allegations involving its own staff during an Ebola outbreak in the Congo.

There have been earlier reports that local women have been offered sex in exchange for jobs and being impregnated by WHO staff and doctors.

The WHO said the UN’s investigative Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) confirmed that two women from Butembo were “potentially having sexually exploitative relationships with individuals connected to WHO.”

There are already testimonies from several victims during investigations from inside the organization and those conducted by outside parties.

The UK, WHO’s 2nd biggest donor said they hope a thorough investigation is conducted and that they do not tolerate such acts.

“We are speaking with WHO and other major donors as a matter of urgency to establish the facts,” said Simon Manley, the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva.

“Our role as a funder is to hold organizations that receive grants from the foundation to the highest standards of transparency and accountability, and to insist that they take steps to prevent misconduct in the future,” added the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, another large donor.

The World Bank said it will review its relationship with the WHO but has already paused financing negotiations last year after news of sex abuse first surfaced.

WHO spokeswoman Marcia Poole said they will take ” prompt and robust action, including collaborating with relevant national authorities on criminal proceedings, in all cases where WHO staff may be found guilty” of sexual abuses.

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