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WHO were aware of sexual abuse claims in Congo but failed to act, internal emails reveal

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) was aware of sexual abuse allegations against one of its medics working in the Democratic Republic of Congo but failed to act, internal emails have revealed.

Dr Boubacar Diallo allegedly offered a job investigating Ebola cases to 25-year-old Shekinah — who asked that only her first name be used for fear of repercussions — at double her previous salary in exchange for sexual favours in January 2019.

The nursing aide said: “When he asked me to sleep with him, given the financial difficulties of my family, I accepted.”

She added that the doctor, who often bragged about his connections to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also offered jobs to several of her friends in return for sex.

Shekinah said that she had often been paid in cash or mobile phone credit, with little paperwork provided.

The doctor should be punished “for his sexual abuse of all those girls in Beni as a lesson to these international organisations that this should not happen again,” she insisted. “I would like justice to be done.”

A WHO staff member and three Ebola experts working in Congo during the outbreak also told management separately about general sex abuse concerns surrounding Mr Diallo, but they were told not to take the matter further, according to the Associated Press.

In another instance, Dr Jean-Paul Ngandu was accused by a young woman of impregnating her.

In a notarised contract, two WHO staff members, including a manager, signed as witnesses to an agreement for Mr Ngandu to pay the young woman, cover her health costs and buy her land.

Eight top officials have privately acknowledged that WHO failed to effectively tackle sexual exploitation during the Ebola outbreak and that the problem was systemic, recordings of internal meetings show.

WHO has declined to comment on specific allegations but has launched an independent investigation.

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