Monday, May 6

WHO fires physician after findings of sexual misconduct

GENEVA — The World Health Organization says it has fired certainly one of its docs who confronted allegations, first reported by The Associated Press, that he had repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct.

The U.N. well being company had come underneath strain from the United States and different international locations to do extra within the battle in opposition to sexual misconduct within the wake of the claims in opposition to the physician, Fijian nationwide Temo Waqanivalu.

“Dr. Temo Waqanivalu has been dismissed from WHO following findings of sexual misconduct against him and corresponding disciplinary process,” WHO spokesperson Marcia Poole mentioned in an electronic mail to the AP early Tuesday.

“Sexual misconduct of any kind by anyone working for WHO – be it as staff, consultant, partner – is unacceptable,” she added.

In January, the AP reported that Waqanivalu had been accused of sexually assaulting a lady at a Berlin convention in October and was flagged to senior WHO administrators years in the past for allegedly harassing one other staffer.

The earlier allegation didn’t lead to any vital penalties for Waqanivalu, who headed a small workforce in WHO’s noncommunicable ailments division and had been getting ready to run for regional director of the Western Pacific.

According to confidential paperwork obtained by the AP, senior WHO administrators have been knowledgeable of a sexual harassment allegation made in opposition to Waqanivalu in 2018. The accuser was later knowledgeable that pursuing a proper investigation may not be the most suitable choice for her.

Waqanivalu was later given an off-the-cuff warning that didn’t cite the girl who made the declare or his particular habits.

In interviews with WHO investigators, Waqanivalu “categorically” denied he had ever sexually assaulted anybody. He declined to remark to the AP.

In latest years, WHO has been tormented by quite a few experiences of misconduct. In May 2021, the AP reported that senior managers have been knowledgeable of intercourse abuse allegations throughout an Ebola outbreak in Congo however did little to cease it. A WHO-appointed panel later discovered that some 21 employees members had been accused of sexually abusing folks throughout that outbreak, amongst a complete of 83 alleged perpetrators linked to the 2018-2020 mission.

The Western Pacific regional director that Waqanivalu was looking for to switch at WHO was placed on depart in August, months after the AP reported that quite a few staffers had accused him of racist and abusive habits that compromised the U.N. company’s response to COVID-19.

Last month, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned in an electronic mail to workers that the appointment of the regional director, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, had been terminated after an inner investigation resulted in “findings of misconduct.”

WHO says it has stepped up efforts to fight sexual exploitation and abuse, together with by means of the appointment of an official who experiences on to Tedros on the difficulty. The reforms are meant to make sure there may be “no impunity” for sexual misconduct and “no tolerance for inaction,” company spokesperson Poole mentioned.

She mentioned WHO encourages all folks affected by sexual misconduct to come back ahead by means of “confidential reporting mechanisms.” Case information will likely be handed over to nationwide authorities “for criminal prosecution” as WHO receives the consent of survivors, Poole mentioned.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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