KINSHASA – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sacked some 25 individuals fingered in sexual exploitation during the response to the tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Its personnel was accused of the violations during the plague that hit the troubled country between 2018 and 2020.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said the organisation would ban 21 identified perpetrators from future employment with WHO.
“We will notify the broader UN system,” he said.
Ghebreyesus said WHO would terminate the contracts of four people identified as perpetrators who were still employed by the organisation when WHO were made aware of the allegations against them.
An independent commission he appointed last year to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse during the Ebola response in Ituri and North Kivu provinces found the individuals liable.
Ghebreyesus said WHO will also refer the allegations of rape to national authorities in DRC and in the country of nationality of the alleged perpetrators for investigation.
As the Director-General, he has taken “ultimate responsibility” for the behaviour of the people WHO employed and for failings in the systems that allowed this behaviour.
Aïchatou Mindaoudou, the co-chair of the independent commission, issued an apology.
“I’m sorry for what was done to you (victims) by people who were employed by WHO to serve and protect you,” she said.
The tenth Ebola outbreak in DRC is the second-largest eruption of the virus in history, after the West African outbreak that killed 11 323 across five countries.
The plague in DRC, former Zaire, left 2 287 people dead and 3 470 infected.
– CAJ News