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WHO to investigate sexual abuse allegations in context of Ebola response in DRC

Moscow: The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Tuesday that it was going to investigate reports of alleged sexual abuse cases amid the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“The actions allegedly perpetrated by individuals identifying themselves as working for WHO are unacceptable and will be robustly investigated. The betrayal of people in the communities we serve is reprehensible. We do not tolerate such behaviour in any of our staff, contractors or partners,” the statement read.

The WHO added that anyone found to be involved in sexual misconduct would face serious consequences.

“The Director-General [Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] has initiated a thorough review of the specific allegations, as well as broader protection issues in health emergency response settings,” the organization noted.

On June 1, the DRC declared its 11th Ebola outbreak. The country’s Health Minister Eteni Longondo has announced a new Ebola cluster in the city of Mbandaka, the capital of the Equateur province, which is a transport hub on the Congo River with a population of more than one million people.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and is estimated by the WHO to have a 50-percent fatality rate. Ebola is named after the DRC’s Ebola River, which is near where the virus was discovered by Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot and his team in 1976.

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