Horrors Unleashed By WHO Officials in Congo
In 2019, Bouba car Diallo, a doctor from Canada visited Congo to manage the WHO’s campaign against Ebola.
The same year he approached a Congolese nurse with a job offer. Her name was Shekina. Back then she was working as a nurse’s aid in northeastern Congo, a region infested with violence and disease, reports WION.
With rampant poverty and meager earnings, Shekina saw the job offer as an opportunity to better means and livelihood. She didn’t know that her work would become a nightmare and Dr. Diallo would demand sexual favors from her.
It’s an excellent example of a man misusing his position of power. On the one side was Diallo – an influential doctor from the West backed by the WHO. On the other was Shekina – a nurse who has known nothing but war and poverty.
She had no option but to accept.
“The economic crisis pushed me to accept this offer but I also saw that he was a great leader within the WHO, that he has a lot of influence within the WHO, so, I had no other choice but to sleep with him,” Shekina said.
In yet another incident, doctor Jean-Paul Ngandu in Congo impregnated a local woman and later denied being the child’s father, so the woman turned to the WHO for help. However, the organization filed no complaint and did not punish Ngandu. Instead, it covered it up.
Ngandu signed a contract with the woman and promised to pay her $100 per month until the child was born. He also bought her some land. Two WHO staffers including a manager signed as a witness to this contract.
The abusive doctor bought the woman’s silence and the WHO signed off on it. In October 2020, Dr. Tedros finally addressed the issue.
“We will not tolerate behavior like this from our staff, contractors, or partners. Anyone identified as being involved will be held to account and face serious consequences, including immediate dismissal,” the WHO director-general said.
Dr. Tedros’s statement hints at his organization and him being unaware of his staff’s behavior. But the truth is something else.
WHO’s internal e-mails and staffers revealed that the leadership was informed of Diallo’s misconduct in 2019 itself but they took no action as the agency’s reputation was at stake.
An e-mail written by a staffer to doctor Michael Yao, who was the WHO’s emergency operations manager at the time, said: “We cannot afford to have people tarnishing the sweat and effort of individuals sacrificing themselves through inappropriate sexual harassment and bullying.”
Soon after this email, Ngandu signed the contract. He says his WHO colleagues advised him to settle out of court. As a follow-up, the Organization launched an internal probe into doctor Diallo’s acts. However, not even a single accuser was interviewed.
The same happened with Dr Ngandu.
The WHO advertise that its motto is to serve the vulnerable but the story of sexual abuse and harassment in Congo, throws light on its dark side. An organization that was formed to create a safe and healthy world hires people who perpetuate a systemic abuse of women. Most importantly, the same organization actively silence those who raise their voice against injustice!
Written by Dhriti Chaturvedi