Daniel, NMA, ECA, PPFN mourn Osotimehin


Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has expressed shock on the death of former Minister of Health and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Professor Babatunde Osotimehin.
In a statement by his Media Officer, Ayo Giwa, the former Governor described Osotimehin as an illustrious son of Ogun State, renowned medical expert, astute administrator and dedicated public servant.
According to him, Osotimehin’s antecedents in the medical field and public service were exceptional as he distingushed himself by initiating laudable projects and polilcies  that remained reference points​ in various areas of health care delivery in Nigeria.  
He then prayed that the Almighty God grants the former minister eternal rest and gives the immediate family, the good people of Ogun State and those who shared in the grief the fortitude to bear the great loss. 
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) described the death as a great loss to the medical community and Nigeria in particular.
Prof. Mike Ogirima, the NMA President, said this in an interview in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ogirima said the late former minister of health, who was at the forefront in the fight against female genital mutilation, was a great asset that Nigeria, indeed Africa, had lost.
The NMA president noted that late Osotimehin would also be remembered for the great role he played in championing the course of women and girls’ reproductive health that emphasised on preventing child and maternal mortality.
“Osotimehin is a great loss to our community, a very brave, humble, gentle and calm man; and very strategic in taking decisions.
“NMA is using this opportunity to console the family, the UN, the whole world, and Nigeria in particular over the death of a very great asset and good Ambassador,” he said.
Osotimehin was appointed on November 19, 2010, as the Executive Director of UNFPA for a four-year term and assumed the position on Jan. 1, 2011.
He was reappointed to the position on August 21, 2014, and became the organisation’s fourth executive director.
Until his death, he also held the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Osotimehin served previously as Nigeria’s minister of health between Dec. 17, 2008, and March 10, 2010.
Also, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has condoled with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) over the death of Osotimehin.
In a statement on ECA’s website on Tuesday, Acting Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok said Osotimehin, a physician and global leader of public health would be sorely missed.
“Under his leadership, the ECA and UNFPA worked closely on major policy initiatives that were aimed at improving the lives of populations across Africa in particular in the context of the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development beyond 2014.
“Our continent has lost a great leader and a real son of Africa and the world, a staunch advocate for the health, dignity and rights of women, girls and the youth.
“His legacy on advancing population and development issues in the world, particularly in Africa will live on.
“Staff and management of the ECA convey their deepest condolences to Dr Osotimehin’s family, to UNFPA’s members of staff and to the people of Nigeria,” Hamdok said.
He said that at the UNFPA, Osotimehin 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.
“The UNFPA is urging those who want to honour his legacy to do so by rallying around those global goals,” Haamdok added.
The statement said that late Osotimehin led the organisation’s efforts on HIV prevention, especially among adolescents and young adults, promoting condoms and ensuring that women and adolescent girls receive HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health services.
He also led Nigeria’s AIDS response as Minister of Health and as the Director-General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS (NACA) before joining the UNFPA in 2011.
Osotimehin, aged 68, who passed away in his New York home on Sunday evening left behind his wife, five children and many grandchildren.
Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) in New York, expressed sadness over the death.
The organisation, in a statement on Tuesday by Bukola Shonuga, Public Relations Director of NIDO Americas, described Osotimehin as one of Nigeria’s best talents.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing away of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director.
“He was a global citizen and one of Nigeria’s best talents. He was a gentle giant with a heart of gold and a generous man who believed that women’s rights are equal rights.
“He believed that free health care is every citizen’s right; and that every child should have the opportunity to realise his or her full potential.
“He was a career public servant who dedicated his life to doing good and making sure there was a fair and level playing field in every venture in which he was involved in,” he said.
Shonuga, who is also the President of NIDOA-New York, commended Osotimehin’s contributions to the advancement of the causes of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“Osotimehin was a patriotic and selfless Nigerian who supported causes to advance Nigerians in the Diaspora and at home.
“His death is a great loss to the Nigerian community in New York and the world community at large.
“But we are grateful to have crossed path with him and we would forever cherish his legacy,” Shonuga said.
Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the UN has continued to receive condolence messages to Nigeria from several countries over the passing away of Osotimehin.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) on Tuesday joined other Nigerians and global stakeholders in mourning Osotimehin.
PPFN President, Mrs Aishatu Lawan, expressed “deep sense of loss at the death’’.
“At this sad moment, we wish to commiserate with his family, UNFPA, the Government and people of Nigeria,’’ Lawan said.
She described the deceased as “a researcher, academic, administrator and more recently an activist of women rights’’.
The president of PPFN noted that Osotimehin has “shown commitment and determination to improve health care delivery particularly for women across the world’’.
Lawan said that PPFN has been providing information and services in reproductive healthcare in Nigeria since 1964.
According to her, the organisation that is a member of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), is collaborating with UNFPA to promote sexual reproductive health and rights in the country.


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