8 June 2017

Africa: Pan-African Institutions Mourn Passing Away of UNFPA Executive Director

Addis Ababa — The African Union (AU) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) mourned the passing away of Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

The Executive Director, who was also former health minister of Nigeria, died last Sunday in his home in New York.

Mourning his death, the AU Commission will remember his leadership in championing access to health for all, including the critical issue of reproductive health and rights for all, especially women, youth and adolescents, said a statement from AU on Wednesday.

"The AU Commission would also like to acknowledge Prof. Babatunde and the UNFPA's support in the development and implementation of the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), the Ending Child Marriage campaign, and the African Youth Charter, among other continental initiatives," said the statement.

Meanwhile a statement from ECA says that the ECA has joined the greater UN family in mourning the sudden death of Osotimehin who passed away in his New York home Sunday evening.

"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," said Abdalla Hamdok, ECA Acting Executive Secretary.

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, according to ECA.

He led the organization'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.

Osotimehin 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 before joining the UNFPA in 2011.

"Staff and management of the ECA convey their deepest condolences to Dr. Osotimehin's family, to UNFPA's staff and to the people of Nigeria," said Hamdok.

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