“This plan sets out the changes we will make as an organization to fulfill this commitment and create a culture where there is no opportunity for sexual exploitation and abuse, no impunity if that happens, and no tolerance for inaction, ”Tedros said.
The plan outlines several short-term actions, focusing on the IC’s most urgent recommendations.
The agency will start by supporting survivors and their families, complete ongoing investigations, launch a series of internal reviews and audits, and reform its structures and culture.
Over the next 15 months, the agency will initiate a review of its policies, procedures and practices to strengthen the Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) safeguards in its programs and operations.
On the ground, this means that the agency will provide victims and survivors with livelihoods, including additional medical and psychosocial support, help them find work, and provide resources for possible small business start-ups.
Children born as a result of these events will also be supported.through educational grants and payment for medical services.
In addition, the agency will provide mandatory pre-deployment training and retraining for any further publications, and will establish reporting channels for warnings or complaints.
WHO has committed an initial $ 7.6 million to strengthen its capacity in ten countries with the highest risk profile: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen.
Changes in action
WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said WHO is already implementing many of the recommendations.
For example, during the current Ebola feveroutbreaks in North Kivu, as part of the first wave of deployment, the agency dispatched a sexual exploitation and abuse prevention expert to Beni.
“Together with UN partners, she is conducting an in-depth two-day training for staff and NGOs and reaching out to community leaders to raise their awareness,” said Ms Moeti.
Last week nearly 40 staff from WHO and UN partners have been trained on these issues. Many of them will then train other staff members.
Nearly 30 members of local community associations were also briefed on how to protect the public and report suspected cases.