Prof. Osotimehin, UNFPA ED, is dead!
The world pays tribute
One of Nigeria’s shining light, brilliant physician and public health expert, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin is dead.
Until his death on Sunday June 5, Professor Osotimehin was the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Before his appointment by the UN on January 1, 2011, he was Nigeria’s Minister of Health.
Prof. Osotimehin, 68, died in his New York home, reportedly while watching TV, fueling a suspicion of cardiac arrest.
A statement by his family earlier today said his funeral rites would be announced at a later date, just as tributes pour in from around the world for the UNFPA chief.
Another statement from the office of Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo reads: “On behalf of the people and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Osinbajo extends heartfelt condolences to his wife, children and entire family over the passage of their beloved father, grandfather and also an illustrious Nigerian.”
The United Nations’ Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on his official twitter account said: “I mourn the death of the UNFPA chief, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. Our world lost a great champion of well-being for all, especially women and girls”.
The UNFPA in a press release Press Release said:
“This is a devastating loss for UNFPA and for the people, especially women, girls and youth, he dedicated his life to serving, starting from when he became a doctor in Nigeria. UNFPA expresses its deep sympathy to his family and prays that they have the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“Dr. Osotimehin was bold and never afraid of a challenge and his strong leadership helped keep the health and rights of the world’s women and girls high on the global agenda. He understood that the world’s 1.8 billion young people are truly its greatest hope for the future.”
The organisation pledged to continuing Dr. Osotimehin’s “ grand vision for women and young people and will continue to stand up for the human rights and dignity of everyone, particularly the most vulnerable adolescent girls.”
“He vigorously championed three major transformative goals of zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet demand for family planning and the elimination of harmful practices against women and girls. UNFPA urges all to honour his legacy by rallying around those global goals, “ the release further said.
Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole who referred to Osotimehin as “Big Boss” said he received the news of the former health minister’s death with shock. He described Osotimehin as an accomplished physician.
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) where Osotimehin once served as first Director General described his death as a huge loss to Nigeria.
“During his period as DG NACA, he successfully transformed the organization from a committee to a Federal Government agency, he will be fondly remembered for his outstanding contributions to the HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria.
“As we mourn this huge loss to Nigeria, the management and staff of NACA and the entire HIV/AIDS advocates join the family in mourning a departed icon in the country.”
Dr. Osotimehin qualified as a doctor from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1972, and went to the University of Birmingham, England, where he got a doctorate in medicine in 1979. He was appointed Professor at the University of Ibadan in 1980 and headed the Department of Clinical Pathology before being elected Provost of the College of Medicine in 1990.
Dr. Osotimehin received the Nigerian national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger in December 2005. He led several councils, including in the World Economic Forum.
He was married, had five children and several grandchildren.