It is with heavy hearts and profound sadness that we write to inform you that our Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, suddenly passed away at his home yesterday, 5 June 2017. He was 68 years old.
This is a devastating loss for all of us at UNFPA and for the people, especially women, girls and youth, he dedicated his life to serving. 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. He was enormously proud of the life-saving and life-transforming work UNFPA staff are doing around the world. UNFPA is dedicated 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. We will continue to stand strong and advance the ICPD agenda, even and especially in these challenging times.
Dr. Osotimehin, a Physician and Public Health Expert, became UNFPA’s fourth Executive Director on 1 January 2011, with the rank of United Nations Under-Secretary-General. Before this 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.