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Backlash prompts WHO to withdraw “goodwill ambassador” role from Mugabe

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4922 (Published 23 October 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4922

The World Health Organization has backtracked on its appointment of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe as a “goodwill ambassador” after strong condemnation.

WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, appointed Mugabe as goodwill ambassador for non-communicable diseases in Africa at a conference in Uruguay on 18 October. However, after an international outcry Tedros withdrew the offer on 22 October, saying in a statement that he had “reflected on the appointment” and as a result decided to rescind it.

“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 …

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