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Dr Babatunde Osotimehin

5 June 2017

I am profoundly saddened by the news that Dr Babatunde Osotimehin passed away on 4 June 2017.

As Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Osotimehin was a champion of health for all, but especially for women and adolescent girls. His work to reduce preventable maternal deaths and family planning highlighted these issues on the global health agenda. Dr Osotimehin also worked tirelessly to prevent violence against women.

Focusing on women’s health in across the world, including Iraq, Nepal, the Philippines, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen, UNFPA – under Dr Osotimehin’s leadership – has dramatically improved the lives of women and girls in some of the world’s most fragile places.

WHO will miss Dr Osotimehin’s leadership as part of the joint Partnership for Maternal Newborn & Child Health in which WHO works closely with UNFPA, UNAIDS, the World Bank, and other organizations to make a meaningful difference for safe motherhood. As Director General of UNPF since 2011, his influence has impacted global health. Prior to taking office as Executive Director of UNFPA, he played a key role as a member of WHO's review committee for the International Health Regulations in 2010–2011. The world has lost a champion of health and human rights.

I extend my thoughts and prayers to Dr Osotimehin’s wife, children, and grandchildren this time of great loss.

Dr Margaret Chan
World Health Organization