President Robert Mugabe has been appointed the World Health Organisation (WHO) Ambassador for Africa to help governments tackle chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart diseases.
President Mugabe will work with national and local politicians to highlight the heavy economic and health burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), United Nations health agency said.
WHO director-general Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus said President Mugabe’s appointment would enable governments to “strengthen our response together” to these “major public health challenges”.
NCDs and injuries are responsible for 43 million deaths each year, according to the WHO – almost 80 percent of all deaths worldwide – but the much of the premature death and disability they cause could be prevented with lifestyle-targeted measures.
His role will be to encourage policies aimed at reducing peoples’ exposure to the main risk factors – tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.