WHO apologizes to DR Congo over Staff’s sexual abuse
The World Health Organization has apologised to DR Congo’s local women and girls who were sexually abused by staff of the health organisation who worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo during an Ebola outbreak from 2018 to 2020.
WHO said it is horrified by the findings of an inquiry into allegations of the sexual abuse. The allegations came to light a year ago following an investigation by the New Humanitarian news agency and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Local women were allegedly plied with drinks, “ambushed” in hospitals, forced to have sex, and two became pregnant. WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said all perpetrators would be held to account.
WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti apologised to the women and girls who had suffered between 2018 and 2020 because of the actions of the agency’s staff and other health workers.
Independent investigators cited structural failures and individual negligence in their report.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the report made for harrowing reading.
He apologised, adding that the buck stopped with him and promised support, protection and justice for the victims.