WHO Slammed for 'Laughable' Choice of Goodwill Ambassador
Robert Mugabe has wrecked his own country's health system
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2017 7:39 AM CDT
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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(Newser) – The World Health Organization has chosen a new "goodwill ambassador" whose human rights abuses have left him with very little goodwill internationally: Robert Mugabe. The 93-year-old president of Zimbabwe was chosen by new WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to help fight non-communicable diseases like strokes and asthma across Africa, the BBC reports. The Guardian reports that the appointment was condemned by multiple governments and human rights groups, which pointed out that health care in Zimbabwe has collapsed under Mugabe's regime—and that Mugabe has been regularly leaving the country to seek medical treatment elsewhere.

"The decision to appoint Robert Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador is deeply disappointing and wrong," says Dr. Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust, a British charitable foundation, per the AP. "Robert Mugabe fails in every way to represent the values WHO should stand for." A group of around two dozen other health organizations said they were "shocked and deeply concerned" by the appointment. A spokesman for Zimbabwean opposition party MDC described the appointment as "laughable." "Mugabe trashed our health delivery system," he said.

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