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Mugabe named as goodwill ambassador by WHO

By statefm / Published on Saturday, 21 Oct 2017 02:42 AM / 201 Comments / 355 views

The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as a “goodwill ambassador” to help tackle non-communicable diseases.

New WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.

But critics say that during Mr Mugabe’s 37-year rule Zimbabwe’s health services have deteriorated, with staff regularly unpaid and medicines in short supply.

Dr Tedros, who is Ethiopian, is the first African to lead the WHO.

He was elected with a mandate to tackle perceived politicisation in the organisation.

Dr Tedros replaced Margaret Chan, who stepped down from her 10-year post in June.

Dr Tedros Adhanom GhebreyesusImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionDr Tedros was elected to reform the WHO

Controversial decision

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva

The appointment of 93-year-old Robert Mugabe will cause astonishment among many WHO member states and donors.

A goodwill ambassador may be a largely symbolic role, but the symbolism of giving it to a man whose leadership of Zimbabwe has, critics say, coincided with a collapse of its health service, and major human rights abuses, will be very unpopular.

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