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World Health Organization

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WHO’s Asia chief put on leave after racism, abuse allegations

  • Dr. Kasai Takeshi, director of the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific Regional Office, has reportedly been placed on indefinite leave.
  • The news comes months after more than 30 current and former staffers accused the Japanese official of abusive and racist behavior. 
  • Kasai was also accused of sharing data with his home country to help it plan its vaccine donations for political advantage.
  • He will be temporarily replaced by Deputy Director-General Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab.

Dr. Kasai Takeshi, director of the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific Regional Office, was reportedly placed on indefinite leave months after facing allegations of abusive and racist behavior.

More than 30 current and former employees filed an internal complaint in January accusing the Japanese official of creating a “toxic atmosphere,” which allegedly compromised the office’s response to COVID-19 in the region. The news, which was first reported by the Associated Press, prompted an internal investigation announced by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus himself.

WHO chief censored in China after he said its zero-COVID policy is unsustainable

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was censored in China after calling the country’s zero-COVID policy unsustainable at a press briefing.
  • The official’s comments, as well as his images and videos containing those comments, were immediately scrubbed from Weibo and WeChat, according to reports.
  • Tedros was seen as an ally of China early in the pandemic when the WHO praised Beijing for its response and echoed its statement that there was “no clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission.
  • In response to Tedros’ comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China hopes relevant people can “view China's policy of epidemic prevention and control objectively” and “refrain from making irresponsible remarks.”

The world’s top health official has reportedly been censored in China after calling its zero-COVID policy unsustainable and stressing the importance of a shift in strategy.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the criticism at a press briefing on Tuesday.

WHO head: World’s focus on Ukraine over other countries is due to racial bias

  • In a virtual press briefing from Geneva on Wednesday, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and current World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused the international community of racial bias, claiming far less attention was being paid to crises in places like Africa and the Middle East versus Ukraine.
  • “I need to be blunt and honest that the world is not treating the human race the same way,” he said solemnly. “Some are more equal than others. And when I say this, it pains me. Because I see it. Very difficult to accept – but it’s happening.”
  • The WHO head cited the crises of Ethiopia, where he is originally from, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, as also requiring immediate attention.
  • Combined, over 66.6 million people are considered in desperate need of humanitarian aid in those four countries alone, not including the millions who have already fled.
  • The Ukraine crisis has displaced approximately 6.5 million people within the country, with over 4 million having crossed the border to neighboring countries such as Poland and Hungary.
  • Ghebreyesus was especially critical of the media for giving a disproportionate amount of coverage to the Ukrainian crisis and called for the need for “balance” in considering all lives as “precious” in spite of race and ethnicity.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and current World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused the world of giving just a “fraction” of its attention to Black lives compared to white. 

In a virtual press briefing from Geneva on Wednesday, Ghebreyesus called out the world for racial bias, claiming it valued Ukrainian lives over those in other parts of the world, especially Africa and the Middle East.

‘I have been hard on staff’: WHO Asia chief accused of abuse and racism, secretly sharing data with Japan

  • Dr. Kasai Takeshi is the director of the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific region, which covers 37 countries and territories.
  • An internal complaint accused Kasai of being abusive and racist, citing one incident in which he berated a staffer for being Filipino.
  • Kasai is also accused of sharing potentially sensitive COVID-19 data with Japan — his home country — to help it gain political advantage.
  • Kasai has denied the allegations while the WHO’s main headquarters in Geneva continues to investigate.

More than 30 current and former World Health Organization officials reportedly came together to accuse Dr. Kasai Takeshi, director of the Western Pacific arm, of abusive and racist behavior toward staff members.

The agency’s Western Pacific region, headquartered in the Philippine capital of Manila, covers nearly 1.9 billion people across 37 countries and territories.

WHO accused of kowtowing to China after skipping Greek letter ‘Xi’ for ‘Omicron’ on new COVID-19 variant

Social media users have accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of bending to China’s will after it skipped the Greek alphabet letter “Xi” and named the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

Driving the news: The WHO began using letters of the Greek alphabet to name COVID-19 variants in May. The agency used the letters in order until it announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern (VOC) on Nov. 26, skipping “Nu” and “Xi.”

China says it can beat COVID-19 Omicron variant as world rushes to impose travel bans

omicron variant china

While many parts of the world are imposing new travel restrictions to counter the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, China is confident about beating it through a policy it has used to fight other strains.

About the Omicron variant: The B.1.1.529 variant, officially named Omicron, was first reported in South Africa on Nov. 9. Since then, it was found to have a large number of mutations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Scientists Warn That ‘Super Malaria’ Spreading Through Southeast Asia Could Threaten the World

A new form of malaria that is resistant to today’s standard treatment, currently being referred to as “Super Malaria,” has broken out in Southern Vietnam.

According to BBC, scientists are warning the public that the rapid spread of “Super Malaria” in Southeast Asia could pose a global threat. The first case of parasitic infection of this drug resistant Malaria was in Cambodia back in 2007. And ever since then, it has traveled across SEA to Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and now Vietnam.