European, American and British diplomats as well as organization donors have voiced grave concerns over how the World Health Organization (WHO) handled sex abuse allegations during an outbreak of Ebola in Congo, which are involving its own staff.
The investigation by the Associated Press, quoted by Euronews, claims that senior WHO management was informed of multiple allegations involving at least two of its doctors during the 2018 epidemic.
A contract in The investigation published a contract reportedly showing two WHO staff signing off on an agreement between WHO’s Dr. Jean-Paul Ngandu and a young woman he allegedly impregnated, in which he promised to pay her money, cover her pregnancy costs and buy her a plot of land.
“The UK has a zero tolerance approach when it comes to sexual exploitation and harassment and that extends to all international organizations that we fund. We are speaking with WHO and other major donors as a matter of urgency to establish the facts,” said Simon Manley, the UK’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva.
The WHO has declined to comment on the allegations reported and the US State Department also had no immediate comment.
European Commission is ready to review or suspend funding “for any partner who is not living up to the required high ethical and professional rules and standards” after donating around €114 million to WHO last year.
The agency’s third-largest funder, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, expects thorough investigations into sexual abuse to be conducted as quickly as possible.
“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,” the foundation said.