WHO removes Robert Mugabe as Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africa

Oct 23, 2017 13:13 IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 22 October 2017 cancelled the appointment of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's appointment as its Goodwill Ambassador for Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Africa.

Mugabe's removal as Goodwill Ambassador came following outrage among Western donors and rights groups at his appointment.

Mugabe was appointed at a global conference in Uruguay on Non-communicable Diseases by WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian and the first African to lead the United Nations’ health agency WHO.

Mugabe is blamed in the West for destroying Zimbabwe’s economy and for numerous human rights abuses during his 37 years tenure of leading the country as either President or Prime Minister.

It is also believed that under Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, Zimbabwe's health care system suffered badly, with hospitals frequently lacking essential supplies and nurses and doctors regularly left without pay.

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The controversy regarding the appointment of WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africa soared-up as WHO struggles to recover its reputation stained by its slowness in tackling the Ebola epidemic that killed over 11000 in West Africa in 2015 under Tedros’ predecessor Margaret Chan.

WHO is currently struggling to deal with the cholera outbreak in Yemen that has infected some 800000 people in 2016. It is also dealing with the outbreak of plague in Madagascar that has killed nearly 100 people in two months.


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