WHO dismisses manager after sexual misconduct findings

April 25, 2023 - 12:55 PM
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WHO logo
A logo is pictured on the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2017.(Reuters/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

GENEVA — The World Health Organization said on Monday it had dismissed one of its senior managers for sexual misconduct following an investigation prompted by a complaint by a junior British doctor.

“Temo Waqanivalu has been dismissed from WHO following findings of sexual misconduct against him and corresponding disciplinary process,” WHO spokesperson Marcia Poole said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Waqanivalu, a Fijian doctor who headed a unit on noncommunicable diseases at the global health agency’s Geneva headquarters, did not immediately respond to a request to comment via telephone or email.

A source familiar with the proceedings said Waqanivalu had denied the allegations throughout the investigation.

“Sexual misconduct of any kind by anyone working for WHO — be it as staff, consultant, partner — is unacceptable,” Poole added in the statement.

Waqanivalu could appeal internally to the WHO and, failing that, to a tribunal at the International Labour Organization (ILO), Poole said.

Dr Rosie James, who works for England’s National Health Service, made her complaint in a Twitter message in October last year.

Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Miranda Murray and Andrew Heavens