Sexual and reproductive health

HRP mourns the passing of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin

Photograph of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin

The UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP) is profoundly saddened by the passing of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. We offer our sincere condolences to Dr Osotimehin’s family, and to the entire staff of UNFPA.

Dr Osotimehin, a former Minister of Health of Nigeria, dedicated a good part of his life to improve the lives of others. As Executive Director of UNFPA, he sought to improve the lives of women, adolescents and youth around the world. HRP is privileged to have worked with UNFPA, including during Dr Osotimehin’s leadership, on the issues closest to his heart. His passionate engagement in key issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) was much valued and will be greatly missed. Under Dr Osotimehin’s leadership, UNFPA’s commitment and contribution to strengthening access to high-quality contraceptive services around the world, especially for adolescent girls and young women, is a testament to his vision and drive. Dr Osotimehin understood well the need to improve maternal health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, and his dedication to ending obstetric fistula was evident in the establishment of the Campaign to End Fistula.

We will also miss Dr Osotimehin’s advocacy for improving SRHR in humanitarian settings and his efforts to prioritise global efforts for addressing gender-based violence, for abandoning female genital mutilation (FGM) as well as child, early and forced marriage. HRP shares Dr Osotimehin’s passion for the social changes needed to end these gender inequalities and we look forward to continuing to work with UNFPA to make his – and our – vision a reality.

For more information about the life of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, please read the biography published by UNFPA and the statement published by WHO

Dr Osotimehin will be missed as an outspoken advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. As a physician and public health expert, he fulfilled his role as the fourth Executive Director of UNFPA with his tireless drive to protect the rights and improve the health of the most marginalised and vulnerable. His passion and commitment for these issues were matched by his technical expertise, his delightful personality, and his willingness to engage openly with everyone sharing his vision.

We thank Dr. Osotimehin for his lifelong leadership and commitment to the advancement of women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health everywhere.

Dr Ian Askew, Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP

Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General, Family, Women's and Children's Health, WHO