The WHO released a devastating report, detailing how some of its employees committed sexual crimes during the organization’s response to the 10th Ebola Virus in the DRC.
The DRC saw the worst Ebola outbreak that claimed more than 2000 lives in August 2018 in what was named the second-largest outbreak in the world.
An Independent investigation set up by the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanam found that of the 83 alleged perpetrators 21 of them were WHO employees.
Speaking in a media conference set up to review the findings of the report, the Director-General noted that the Identities of the perpetrators were not yet known as well as that of the victims, investigations are ongoing.
So far, The WHO reports that 4 of the health workers have had their contracts terminated, 17 others are yet to be identified. In what may be called negligence by the WHO, a question rises on how 21 employees engaged in such violent crimes undetected until 3 years later, even at that only 4 employees have been identified.
Looking at gender dynamics of the WHO officers employed in the war against Ebola in the DRC they were predominantly male. 73.4% of the posts were occupied by Male employees whereas 26, 6% Occupied by females. The figures are a clear indication that some if not most of the WHO centers in Kivu were manned by Male Health Officials. The report alleges that even the drivers were involved in despicable sexual violence, the youngest of the victims being a 13-year-old girl who was taken to a hotel by a WHO clinic transport Driver and was raped there.
Kivu is situated in the North of the DRC bordering Rwanda and Uganda, it’s home to the largest rural areas that lack infrastructures, like Roads and Hospitals it is also ripe with insurgency, a clear indication of instability in that region that makes it hard sometimes for police or foreign aid to reach due to bad roads. When an organization like the WHO makes means to reach some of the unreachable places, it raises eyebrows when the same supposedly saviors prey on and exploit the already vulnerable women and children.
The WHO acknowledges its negligence of not equipping response teams with knowledge of the risk management dimension of sexual exploitation and abuse. It notes that going forward, a position dedicated to the prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse will be integrated into response teams.
It’s quite alarming when you look at what kind of people the WHO employs, is there no screening prior to deployment of these health officials given the history of sexual violence in these poor communities by the UN peacekeeping soldiers for example.