Mugabe named as goodwill ambassador by WHO

Reply Sat 21 Oct, 2017 03:42 am
International organisations often get a lot of unfair criticism, but this is really taking the piss. The news gets more surreal every day.

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 Zimbabwe's health care system has collapsed, with the president and many of his senior ministers going abroad for treatment.
They say that staff are often unpaid and medicines are in short supply.
Dr Tedros, who is Ethiopian, is the first African to lead the WHO and replaced Margaret Chan, who stepped down from her 10-year post in June.
He was elected with a mandate to tackle perceived politicisation in the organisation.
The WHO head praised Zimbabwe as "a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all".
But US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch said it was an embarrassment to give the ambassador role to Mr Mugabe given his record on human rights.
"If you look at Zimbabwe, Mugabe's corruption, his utter mismanagement of the economy has devastated health services there," said executive director Kenneth Roth.
"Indeed, you know, Mugabe himself travels abroad for his health care. He's been to Singapore three times this year already. His senior officials go to South Africa for their health care.
"When you go to Zimbabwean hospitals, they lack the most basic necessities."
The idea of hailing Mr Mugabe "as any kind of example of positive contribution to health care is absolutely absurd", he added.
President Mugabe heard about the award while attending a WHO conference on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Montevideo.
He told delegates how his country had adopted several strategies to combat the challenges presented by NCDs, which the WHO says kill about 40 million people a year and include cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes.
"Zimbabwe has developed a national NCD policy, a palliative care policy, and has engaged United Nations agencies working in the country, to assist in the development of a cervical cancer prevention and control strategy," Mr Mugabe was reported by the state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper as saying.
But the president admitted that Zimbabwe was similar to other developing countries in that it was "hamstrung by a lack of adequate resources for executing programmes aimed at reducing NCDs and other health conditions afflicting the people".
Zimbabwe's main MDC opposition party also strongly criticised the WHO move.
"The Zimbabwe health delivery system is in a shambolic state, it is an insult," spokesman Obert Gutu told AFP.
"Mugabe trashed our health delivery system. He and his family go outside of the country for treatment in Singapore after he allowed our public hospitals to collapse."
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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Reply Sat 21 Oct, 2017 10:18 am
Seeing the thread title made me blink and shake my head.
Reply Sat 21 Oct, 2017 04:44 pm
I know, but there might be a rethink, the backlash has been pretty severe.
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Reply Sat 21 Oct, 2017 05:23 pm

‘Bad April Fool’s joke’: Justin Trudeau rips Robert Mugabe appointment by WHO

“Quite frankly I thought it was a bad April Fool’s joke,” Trudeau told reporters at a media availability in Edmonton on Saturday.

“It is absolutely unacceptable, absolutely unconceivable that his individual would have a role as a goodwill ambassador.”

Canada is making sure its unhappiness with the appointment is being heard, Trudeau said.

“Our diplomats and the folks at Global Affairs are busy making that very very clear to the international community,” he said.

Two dozen organizations – including the World Heart Federation and Cancer Research U.K. – released a statement over the appointment, saying health officials were “shocked and deeply concerned” and citing Mugabe’s “long track record of human rights violations.”

The chorus of international outrage quickly reached the ears of the WHO, which said it was reconsidering the appointment of the 93-year-old Mugabe.

WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said In a tweet on Saturday that “I’m listening. I hear your concerns. Rethinking the approach in light of WHO values. I will issue a statement as soon as possible.”
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Reply Sun 22 Oct, 2017 12:34 am
I don't think the appointment will happen any more.

The new head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is rethinking a plan to appoint Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's original proposal sparked an outcry.
He had previously praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.
But Mr Mugabe's critics say Zimbabwe's healthcare system has collapsed under his 30-year rule, with staff often going without pay while medicines are in short supply.
It led Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Doug Coltart to take to Twitter to question how the WHO felt about having "a Goodwill Ambassador who destroyed the health sector in his country".
Other social media users accused the president - who, at 93, has outlived his country's average life expectancy by more than three decades - of travelling abroad to receive his own medical treatment.

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Reply Sun 22 Oct, 2017 12:20 pm
The World Health Organization has revoked the appointment of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador following a widespread outcry.
"I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
He had previously praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.
But critics pointed out that Zimbabwe's healthcare system had collapsed in recent years.

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Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2017 11:00 am
thanks for helping me/us informed about this.
Reply Sat 28 Oct, 2017 07:31 am
Thanks Rags, I really appreciate that. A lot of my news threads are voted down within seconds of me posting them so it's easy to think nobody really cares about what goes on outside the US.

Btw, I had to vote you back up.
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