President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe | Getty Images
President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe | Getty Images

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has revoked the appointment of the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador.

WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus indicated in a statement on Sunday, October 22, 2017 that the decision was made following a public outcry.

Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of H.E. President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africa. As a result I have decided to rescind the appointment.

“I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns, and heard the different issues that they have raised,” Mr. Ghebreyesus said.

“I have also consulted with the Government of Zimbabwe and we have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization.

“It is my aim to build a worldwide movement for global health. This movement must work for everyone and include everyone.

“For me, what is important is to build political leadership and create unity around bringing health to all, based on WHO’s core values.

“I remain firmly committed to working with all countries and their leaders to ensure that every one has access to the health care they need.

“We must build bridges that bring us together and help us move forward in our quest to achieve universal health coverage.

“I thank everyone who has voiced their concerns and shared their thoughts. I depend on constructive debate to help and inform the work I have been elected to do,” the statement ended.

He had previously praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.

But critics pointed out that Zimbabwe’s healthcare system had collapsed under Mugabe’s 30-year rule.

This will raise questions over the leadership of the WHO’s new head, Mr Tedros – who is supposed to be embarking on a new era of reform.

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