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Donors, officials signal potential backlash to World Health Organization sex scandal

Multiple WHO officials caught up in sexual misconduct allegations.

Updated: May 14, 2021 - 4:01pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

International officials and wealthy donors are signaling what may be a potential backlash to a burgeoning sexual misconduct scandal at the World Health Organization. 

The controversy was exposed this week in a bombshell Associated Press report. WHO officials allegedly knew of the sexual scandals but denied knowing so.

Now the A.P. reports on what may be a brewing backlash to the affair, with ambassadors, donors and diplomats responding to the scandal with hints of potential funding revocation. 

“The U.K. has a zero tolerance approach when it comes to sexual exploitation and harassment — and that extends to all international organizations that we fund,” Simon Manley, the United Kingdom's ambassador to the U.N., told the news service. The U.K., he said, is "speaking with WHO and other major donors as a matter of urgency to establish the facts.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, meanwhile — the third-largest funder of the health group behind the U.S. and the U.K. — said that it seeks to "hold organizations that receive grants from the foundation to the highest standards of transparency and accountability."

Among the allegations are that WHO's Dr. Jean-Paul Ngandu impregnated a woman in Congo and then had two WHO staffers sign a notarized contract promising her money and land.