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In Remembrance of Babatunde Osotimehin, a Champion for Women’s Health

This week the worldwide health group suffered a nice loss with the sudden passing of Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Dr. Osotimehin—a Nigerian-born physician who devoted his life to public service, was an ardent advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, dedicated to stopping maternal deaths, assembly the necessity for trendy household planning, eliminating dangerous practices towards women and women, and making the case for the empowerment of women and women as a highly effective pressure for change. He was additionally a robust supporter of the position of the personal sector in serving to remedy the world’s hardest issues, complementing the efforts of authorities and civil society.

I first met Dr. Osotimehin in Abuja in 2001 when he led Nigeria’s National Action Committee on AIDS. He later turned Federal Minister of Health in Nigeria, earlier than taking over his mandate as UNFPA Executive Director in 2011. I keep in mind a compelling and well-received speech he gave on the Global Health Council’s annual convention that yr, laying out his imaginative and prescient for UNFPA and the very important significance of women’s health for international health. I all the time discovered Babatunde to be considerate, passionate and deeply dedicated to health for all—a position mannequin to emulate in working for the larger good.

An enduring legacy of Dr. Osotimehin’s work is his management in advocating for the fitting of women to regulate their reproductive and sexual health and to decide on whether or not and when to turn into pregnant. As head of UNFPA, he led the implementation of the motion plan round women’s health and rights adopted by 179 nations on the 1994 U.N. inhabitants convention in Cairo. He boldly contributed his voice at a time when publicly taking a stand on these issues was not with out danger or controversy. He was a main advocate at Women Deliver, the seminal convention on the health, rights and well-being of women and women and was a standout speaker at a multisectoral panel on methods to advance women’s and woman’s health and rights on a international scale alongside Merck for Mothers, numerous nation parliamentarians and advocates.

At a time when UNFPA’s very existence is threatened by potential volatility in donor help, we’ll sorely miss Babatunde Osotimehin’s robust and steadfast management in championing the rights of women and women and maintaining them entrance and middle on the worldwide health agenda.

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