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WHO Fired One Of Its Doctors After Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Surfaced

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Sexual Misconduct

(CTN News) – According to The Associated Press, who broke the story first, the World Health Organisation has fired one of its doctors after allegations of sexual misconduct were made public.

Temo Waqanivalu pressured by the United States to do more in the battle against sexual misconduct

Following the charges against the physician, Temo Waqanivalu, a citizen of Fiji, the United States and other nations put pressure on the UN health agency to take action in the fight against sexual misconduct.

WHO spokesperson Marcia Poole informed the Associated Press in an email early on Tuesday that “Dr. Temo Waqanivalu has been dismissed from WHO following findings of sexual misconduct against him and the corresponding disciplinary process.”

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

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The Associated Press reports that Waqanivalu was reported to senior WHO officials years ago for allegedly harassing another coworker. Waqanivalu was accused of sexually abusing a woman at a meeting in Berlin in October.

Waqanivalu, who headed a small team in WHO’s non-communicable diseases division and intended to run for Western Pacific regional director, was unaffected by the initial charge.

Senior WHO officials were informed of a sexual harassment accusation against Waqanivalu in 2018 according to private records from the Associated Press.

Later, it was suggested to the accuser that opening a formal investigation would not be the best course of action.

Later, Waqanivalu received an unofficial warning that didn’t specifically address his actions or the woman who made the claim.

Waqanivalu “categorically” denied sexually assaulting anyone in conversations with WHO inspectors

He refused to give an interview to the Associated Press.

Numerous allegations of misconduct have alarmed WHO in recent years. Senior officials reportedly received notice of allegations of sexual assault during an Ebola outbreak in the Congo but did little to stop it, according to a report from May 2021.

Of the 83 suspected abusers connected to the 2018-2020 mission, a WHO-appointed panel later determined that 21 staff members had been accused of sexually abusing people throughout the outbreak.

The Western Pacific regional director, Waqanivalu’s successor at WHO, was placed on leave in August

Months after the Associated Press reported that numerous coworkers had accused him of engaging in discriminatory and abusive behaviour that jeopardised the organization’s response to COVID-19.

Last month, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed staff via email that Dr. Takeshi Kasai’s position as regional director had been terminated due to “findings of misconduct” after an internal investigation.

According to WHO, it has intensified steps to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, including designating a person who answers directly to Tedros on the matter.

The changes are intended to guarantee “no impunity” for sexual misconduct and “zero tolerance for inaction,” according to agency spokesperson Poole.

She said that the WHO implores all sexual assault victims to disclose their crimes by using “confidential reporting mechanisms.”

After WHO secures survivors’ consent, Poole claims that case files will be given to national authorities “for criminal prosecution”.

 

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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