PROFILE: The life and times of Babatunde Osotimehin

Professor Babatunde Osotimehin
Professor Babatunde Osotimehin

Babatunde Osotimehin was a global leader of public health, women’s empowerment and young people, particularly focused on promoting human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as population and development. After his appointment as UNFPA Executive Director, effective 2011, he spearheaded efforts by the international community to advance the milestone consensus of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994.

Upon moving into his second term in 2015, Mr. Osotimehin introduced new reforms that increased the effectiveness and efficiency of UNFPA and outlined a more robust vision for improving the lives of women, adolescents and youth around the world. His leadership and advocacy with governments and other key stakeholders continued to focus on youth and voluntary family planning. He also, until his death, steered UNFPA’s humanitarian action and efforts around eliminating gender-based violence and other harmful practices.

Mr. Osotimehin’s professional background is in health and medicine. He had extensive knowledge of the global and national frameworks and processes that are critical to UNFPA’s work. He previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of Health and as the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS, which coordinates all HIV/AIDS work in Nigeria.

The UNFPA Executive Director served in various advisory boards and councils. Mr. Osotimehin chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Demographic Dividend. He is also a Global Agenda Trustee for the Forum’s Global Challenge on Economic Growth and Social Inclusion, and co-chairs the Family Planning 2020 Reference Group.

Mr. Osotimehin completed his medical studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1972 and received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, in 1979. He was named 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. He has served as chair and member of several academic and health organizations, including as Chair of the National Action Committee on AIDS, between 2002 and 2007.

Mr. Osotimehin received the Nigerian national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger, in December 2005.

He was married and had five children.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The profile was sourced from the UNFPA and edited to reflect Mr. Osotimehin’s death.


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  • George

    Yorubas they know how to promote their own and want to bring others down.

    If this yeye man who died isn’t Yoruba they could have attributed his position/promotion to GEJ OR PDP era but here we are celebrating a man who never celebrate himself.

    • pajerow

      lol,It only sounds like promotion .There is another part to it .The question. is given extent of opportunities he had By how much has he changed Nigeria health prrlactice?.We still have a president that travels to London for blood transfusion today.So I see him as a failure. I’m a Yoruba man o