The United Nations has now come under sharp criticism following its decision to name Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe the UN World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador to promote health despite the country’s health crisis.
While making the announcement, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus indicated that President Mugabe of Zimbabwe would serve as a Goodwill Ambassador on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) for Africa.
“I am honoured to be joined by President Mugabe, of Zimbabwe, a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all,” said Tedros.
The 93 year old veteran leader has been mandated to mobilise his fellow African leaders to fight non communicable diseases in the region as they are estimated to claim at least 15 million lives annually.
The appointment was attributed to Mugabe’s establishment of a levy fund for NCDs, an innovative domestic resource mobilization approach that WHO requests other countries to emulate.
However, Mugabe who tops the list of Africa’s most serving presidents has reportedly suffered several health scares including a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2008.
His health has been a contributing factor for his frequent visits to over-sea hospitals for routine check –up.
Mugabe’s appointment of good will ambassadors, which is supposed to be a 2 year tenure has been widely criticized following imposition of trade embargos on arms deal against Zimbabwe by the United Nations and economic sanctions against Zimbabwe laid by the UK and EU.