WHO to send in experts to prevent sexual abuse after DR Congo scandal

The World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. /VCG

The World Health Organization said on Friday it is deploying experts on preventing sexual exploitation in 10 “high-risk” countries, after a major scandal in the Democratic Republic of Congo where its staff and other aid workers abused women.

Some 83 aid workers, a quarter of them employed by the WHO, were involved in sexual exploitation and abuse during the country’s massive Ebola epidemic from 2018 to 2020, an independent commission said last month.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus laid out his plans to respond to the crisis during a closed-door session with representatives of the 194 member states on Thursday, the U.N. health body told Reuters.

Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Venezuela, and Yemen will be the locations for the work, the WHO said in a statement to Reuters.