Mourning the Loss of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Leader, Women’s Rights Champion, and Friend

Dr. Babatunde OsotimehinStatement from Dr. Chris Elias, President of the Global Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Co-Chair, the FP2020 Reference Group:

The world has lost one of the most effective and forthright champions for women’s health and rights. Babatunde Osotimehin was never afraid to speak out on behalf of women and girls. I first met him when he was the leader of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS, where he played an early and instrumental role in empowering women and girls to protect themselves and their families from infection. Over the past five years, I have had the honor of working side by side with Dr. Babatunde as co-chair of the FP2020 Reference Group. His tireless dedication to FP2020’s mission was driven by his deep personal commitment to create a world where all girls could grow up proud and strong—just like his three beloved daughters. I extend my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to Dr. Babatunde’s family and wish them comfort in the knowledge that his work has changed millions of lives for the better – and will continue to do so as a lasting part of his legacy.

Statement from Beth Schlachter, Executive Director, Family Planning 2020:

We join millions of others whose lives were touched by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin in expressing our sorrow at his unexpected passing. Dr. Babatunde worked tirelessly on behalf of the rights of women and girls in every corner of the planet. He was also a thoughtful and dedicated champion of the work of Family Planning 2020, and was an integral architect of the partnership as it stands today. UNFPA embraced both the idea and the reality of FP2020, a true reflection of the heart that Dr. Babatunde brought to the partnership. He served as both our Reference Group co-chair and as an exuberant champion of our work. We will miss him terribly, but will be driven by his vision and commitment to ensuring the self-determination of women and girls. We offer our deep condolences to his family and to all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Additional Statements from the Family Planning Community: