The World Health Organisation (WHO) has withdrawn the appointment of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as a goodwill ambassador.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, in a statement said the decision was taken following widespread outcry and criticism.
Ghebreyesus said he had hoped Mugabe would use his goodwill ambassador role to “influence his peers in the region”.
He added that he consulted with the Zimbabwean government and decided that rescinding Mugabe’s position was “in the best interests” of the health organisation.
Critics alleged Mugabe was unfit for the role because Zimbabwe’s “healthcare system has collapsed under his 30-year- rule,” while he seeks medical care abroad.
“I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns,” Ghebreyesus said.
Ghebreyesus said he remained committed to working with all countries and their leaders” to build universal health care.
The UK government, the Canadian prime minister, the Wellcome Trust, the NCD Alliance, UN Watch, the World Heart Federation, Action Against Smoking and Zimbabwean lawyers and social media users were among those said to have criticised Zimbabwe’s appointment.