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An ambulance in Zimbabwe; Robert Mugabe

Plague strikes Madagaskar as Zimbabwean dictator gets top WHO appointment

While British tourists have been warned against travelling to Madagascar as an outbreak of plague in Southern Africa have left more than 90 dead, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has appointed the Zimbabwean dictator as "good-will ambassador".

Published: October 23, 2017, 8:30 am

    Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, Africa emergencies chief for the UN health agency, told reporters in Geneva, an unusually large outbreak in the country has taken 94 lives.

    The WHO revealed on Friday, that the number of suspected cases has reached 1 153. International agencies have sent more than one million doses of antibiotics and deployed medical teams to Madagaskar.

    Meanwhile the WHO has appointed Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe as a “goodwill ambassador” to address non-communicable diseases globally.

    Health services however have totally collapsed under Mugabe’s rule, but dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe “for its commitment to public health”.

    Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian, claimed Zimbabwe was a country that “places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all”.

    US and EU sanctions against Mugabe are still in place, making the move even more surprising.

    US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was an embarrassment to have Mugabe as ambassador, because his “utter mismanagement of the economy has devastated health services”.

    Mugabe and his officials travel abroad for treatment which is paid for by the state. “When you go to Zimbabwean hospitals, they lack the most basic necessities,” a HRW spokesperson said.

    Reuters reported that Mugabe was in Singapore for medical treatment, in his third such visit this year. Mugabe has racked up more than 200 000 air miles since the start of 2016, and spent $53 million on foreign visits, more than double the initial budget of $23 million, according to government data.

    “The Zimbabwe health delivery system is in a shambolic state, it is an insult,” Zimbabwean opposition party spokesman Obert Gutu told AFP. Gutu is a member of the MDC party.

    “Mugabe trashed our health delivery system… he allowed our public hospitals to collapse.”

    President Mugabe heard about his appointment while attending a conference held by the WHO, a UN agency, on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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    • They’ve since rescinded, but who is running WHO, that they didn’t know who Mugabe is.


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