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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

WHO fires physician after findings of sexual misconduct

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

The U.N. well being company had come underneath strain from the US and different nations to do extra within the struggle 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 in opposition to him and corresponding disciplinary course of,” stated WHO spokeswoman Marcia Poole in a e mail to the AP early Tuesday.

“Sexual misconduct of any sort by anybody working for WHO — be it as employees, marketing consultant, associate — is unacceptable,” she added.

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

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

In keeping with 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 best choice for her.

Waqanivalu was later given a casual warning that didn’t cite the lady 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.

Lately, WHO has been affected by quite a few studies of misconduct. In Could 2021, the AP reported that senior WHO managers have been knowledgeable of intercourse abuse allegations throughout an Ebola outbreak in Congo however did little to cease it. A panel appointed by WHO later discovered that greater than 80 employees underneath WHO’s path sexually abused ladies.

The Western Pacific regional director that Waqanivalu was in search of 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.

Final month, WHO Director-Normal Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated in an e mail to workers that the appointment of the regional director, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, had been terminated after an inside investigation resulted in “findings of misconduct.”

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