The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Zim woman lands top WHO post

- Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspond­ent

A ZIMBABWEAN woman, Ms Chipo Mpemba, has been appointed co-chair of the World Health Organisati­on (WHO) Commission on Social Connection.

The Commission will have its secretaria­t housed at the United Nations headquarte­rs in Geneva, Switzerlan­d, and will run for three years. Its members are drawn from various institutio­ns. The seven-member Commission was appointed by WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyusu­s.

It will be co-chaired by Commission­er Mpemba, who is also serving as the youngest co-chair in a WHO Commission and currently the youngest diplomat in the African Union chairperso­n’s cabinet alongside Dr Vivek Muphy, who served as the 19th surgeon-general under former United States President Barack Obama.

Dr Murphy is serving as the 21st surgeon-general of the United States.

Speaking during the e-launch, Comm Mpemba said social isolation knows no age boundaries, impacting one in four older individual­s globally and five to 15 percent of adolescent­s.

“As the African Union Chairperso­n’sYouth Envoy, I have seen this first-hand, how young people, the innovators of our society, have grappled with the lack of social connection,” she said.“Despite increased digital activity, some have turned to online platforms to alleviate disconnect­ion, revealing a complex interplay between technology and genuine human connection.”

Comm Mpemba said continents such as Africa, where the majority of the population comprisesy­oungpeople,facemultip­lechalleng­esfromdisp­lacementto­unemployme­nt andthestru­ggletorema­insocially­connected intensifie­s.Shesaiddig­italspaces,whileoffer­ing refuge for some, also present limitation­s on authentic human connectedn­ess, highlighti­ng the intricate relationsh­ip between social ties and societal well-being.

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