UN expresses shock, sadness over Babatunde Osotimehin’s death
The UN on Monday expressed sadness over the death of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mr. Osotimehin reportedly died on Sunday while watching television at home after church service in New York.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, expressed condolences to the family of the deceased, the staff of UNFPA and the Nigerian Government.
Guterres in a statement, described Osotimehin as a colleague and a friend.
“I am profoundly saddened by the sudden passing of my good colleague and friend, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.
“I offer sincere condolences to his family, to the staff of UNFPA, to the Government and people of Nigeria, and to all those around the world touched by this loss.
“The world has lost a great champion of health and well-being for all.
“Dr Babatunde was admired globally for his leadership of the UN Population Fund and for his forceful advocacy for the world’s women and girls in particular,” Guterres said.
The UN chief explained that sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights were among the most important, and often sensitive, on the international agenda.
“Dr Babatunde’s calm yet ardent efforts helped families get the sexual and reproductive health services they need, and helped the world advance the landmark 1994 Cairo Programme of Action on Population and Development.
“His voice was invaluable over the years, including his time as Nigeria’s Minister of Health, in pressing for family planning, women’s education, children’s health and action on HIV/AIDS as vital ingredients in human progress.
“At this moment of sorrow, let us give thanks for Babatunde’s life of service,” Guterres said.
Mr. Osotimehin was appointed as the Executive Director of UNFPA on Nov. 19, 2010 for a four-year term and assumed the position on Jan. 1, 2011.
He was reappointed to the position on Aug. 21, 2014, to became the organisation’s fourth executive director.
Before his appointment, Dr. Osotimehin was Nigeria’s Minister of Health. Prior to that, he was Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, which coordinated HIV and AIDS work in Nigeria.
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.