The World Health Organization Just Made a Mega Mistake

The Background

The World Health Organization (WHO) is reversing its (bizarre) appointment of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as goodwill ambassador — a decision Prime Minister Justin Trudeau compared to a “bad April Fool’s joke.” (We’d call it sick.) In a statement released yesterday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom said he decided to act after the choice drew worldwide concern and outrage. Mugabe, 93, has long been accused of human rights abuses and is often criticized for travelling overseas for medical treatment at the expense of his own people. BBC

What Else You Need to Know

Mr. Tedros had originally justified the appointment based on Zimbabwe’s commitment to public health and thought President Mugabe could “help tackle non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa, ” but critics quickly pointed out that the country’s health care system was in ruins. The collapse of the economy has forced many health care workers to go without pay and many life-saving medications are often in short supply. In addition to our PM, the U.K. government, the Wellcome Trust, the NCD Alliance, UN Watch, the World Heart Federation, Action Against Smoking and Zimbabwean lawyers also condemned the appointment.

What’s Next?

The World Health Organization hasn’t said whether or not they’ll appoint another goodwill ambassador in the area, but they should make an announcement soon. (WHO knows.)