Babatunde Osotimehin, former Nigeria’s Health minister dies at 68

Former Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof.Babatunde Osotimehin, is dead. Until his death, he was the Executive Director of the United Nations Populations Fund, UNFPA.

Mr. Osotimehin was also a former Provost of the College of Medicine at the University of Ibadan, before he became the head of NACA, before being appointed health minister.

He was appointed the fourth Executive Director of UNFPA in November 2010 and was reappointed in August 2014.

Biography of Babatunde Osotimehin (6 February 1949 – 4 June 2017)

Babatunde Osotimehin was born in February 1949 in Ogun State. He attended Igbobi College between 1966 and 1971.

After his medical studies at University of Ibadan, he received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, in 1979.

Prior to his appointment at UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, Dr. Osotimenhin served as the Minister of Health of Nigeria. Before that, Dr. Osotimehin was the Director-General of the Nigerian National Agency for the Control of AIDS, an agency that coordinates all HIV and AIDS work in a country with more than 150 million people.

As chairman of the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) he oversaw the development of systems that, today, manage more than US$1billion.

During his tenure as Project Manager for the World-Bank assisted HIV/AIDS Programme Development Project from 2002–2008, he achieved great success.

Dr. Ostotimehin’s interests include youth and gender, within the context of reproductive health and rights. Young people will be his special focus at UNFPA. “We need to ensure that young people of both genders have equal participation, not only in reproductive rights and health but also within society and in the economy.”

In a 2005 article in the New York Times , he noted that nearly 58 percent of Nigerians with H.I.V. are female. Many girls in Nigeria are married off before they are physically or psychologically ready, when they are as young as 13 or 14. It is not acceptable for them to ask their partners to use a condom or to refrain from sex.

Later that year, he said that the government had ordered an increase to 250,000 of the number of HIV-positive people on Nigeria’s antiretroviral treatment program.

He believes humility is the key to engaging people and facilitating change, “humility to engage with the other person of the other community in such a way that they know that you respect them.”

As Minister of Health in Nigeria

Babatunde Osotimehin was appointed Minister of Health on 17 December 2008. During his tenure, he united all 36 states to build a national health plan focused on primary health care.

In a September 2009 press conference, Dr. Osotimehin said that Nigeria had yet to comply with the Abuja Declaration that 15% of the budget of each African country should be devoted to health care. Nigeria as a whole was only spending between 8% and 9%, although some states were doing much better.

In October 2009, he pointed out that medical institutions were required by law to treat accident and gunshot victims. Refusal to give treatment could be punished by a jail term.

In December 2009 he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to eliminate poliomyelitis and other childhood killer diseases.


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