UN Authority Figures

World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador: Robert Mugabe, RESCINDED

Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who has been accused of overseeing the economic devastation of Zimbabwe.
Source: Daily Mail, October 20, 2014

Role of Goodwill Ambassadors "Ambassadors are well-known personalities from the worlds of arts, literature, entertainment, sport or other fields of public life who commit to contribute to WHO's efforts to raise awareness of important health problems and solutions. Appointed by the Director-General for two years at a time, they work closely with WHO to draw attention to its overall priorities or a specific health issue affecting people's lives and well-being."

Term of Office: October 20, 2017 – Rescinded on October 22, 2017

Mugabe's record on "important health problems and solutions"
  • "Inadequate medical facilities, an advanced HIV/AIDS epidemic, and a shortage of well-trained health-care professionals contributed to the high maternal mortality rate of 651 deaths per 100,000 live births for the period 2008-15 (DHS estimate)...Persons with mental disabilities also suffered from inadequate medical care and a lack of health services... There were few certified psychiatrists working in public and private clinics and teaching in the country. NGOs reported that getting access to mental health services was slow and frustrating." (U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights: Zimbabwe, 2016).
  • "Dilapidated infrastructure, lack of machinery and drugs, brain drain, inhibitive costs and strikes by medical personnel are some of the challenges bedeviling the health sector." (Zimbabwe Health Sector 'Collapsing' 36 Years After Independence, by Patricia Mudadigwa, April 18, 2016, Voice of America News)
  • Ranked 206 out of 224 countries in life expectancy according to the CIA Factbook (2016 Est.). (Life Expectancy at Birth, CIA World Factbook 2016, accessed October 20, 2017)
  • "A doctor from the city of Bulawayo, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said: 'nothing works in the state hospitals. We have almost no drugs, hardly any equipment works. Mugabe deserves to be condemned for dismantling Zimbabwe's public health service.'
    In January this year the Zimbabwean Medical Association asked the country's national bank to release emergency funds to alleviate an acute shortage of critical drugs for people with chronic conditions, including insulin.
    Last year Harare central hospital suspended elective surgery and said it would only be treating life threatening conditions and maternity cases because of a shortage of medical supplies. Mr Mugabe has traveled to Singapore for medical treatment at least three times this year, most recently in July." (Zimbabwean activists condemn 'absurd' World Health Organization honour for Robert Mugabe, by Roland Oliphant, October 20, 2017, The Telegraph)