Sunday, 22 October 2017

Twitter Reacts After WHO Revokes Appointment Of President Robert Mugabe As A "Goodwill Ambassador"

Twitter was abuzz on Sunday following the decision by the head of the World Health Organisation to withdraw his appointment of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a "goodwill ambassador".

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he decided to rescind his appointment of Mugabe, 93, after listening to the flood of outrage and concerns voiced by international leaders and health experts.

See his statement below.
Ghebreyesus said his decision was in the "best interests" of the UN agency and that he had consulted with the Zimbabwe government about his decision.

An AFP report said that the WHO boss had faced mounting pressure to reverse the decision, including from some of the leading voices in global public health.
Twitter Reacts After WHO Revokes Appointment Of President Robert Mugabe As A "Goodwill Ambassador"
"The Mugabe appointment, coming at the end of (Tedros's) first 100 days, was a misstep," the director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University, Ashish K Jha, said in an email shortly before the WHO decision was announced.

"Reversing will actually be a strong sign that the leadership listens and is willing to be responsive to views of the global public," he added.

The US ambassador to the United Nations during Barack Obama's administration, Samantha Power, tweeted: "Tedros will surely revoke terrible apptmt of Mugabe as goodwill ambassador, but damage is done.

"The only person whose health 93-yo Mugabe has looked out for in his 37 year reign is his own."

Multiple critics noted that Mugabe, who is 93 and in increasingly fragile health, travels abroad for medical care because Zimbabwe's health care system has been so severely decimated.

Richard Horton, the editor of the leading medical journal The Lancet said: "WHO DG stands for Director-General, not Dictator-General. Tedros, my friend, retract your decision, consult with colleagues, and rethink."

Tedros is the former health minister of Ethiopia.

His election as the first African leader of WHO was billed as a key moment for the continent, where much of organisation's work is based.

But his decision to honour one of Africa's most controversial leaders has raised questions about his leadership just four months into his tenure.


Director General rescinds Goodwill Ambassador appointment

WHO statement | 22 October 2017

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. 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.
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