Prof. Osotimehin may no longer be with us here mortally, but his legacies remains entrenched in our world and in every workplace he graced while he was here.
If ever there was a man who was born into an era in which his talents, expertise, experience and empathy was most needed, one ought to look no further than the late Professor Babatunde Osotimehin.
In his capacities as the director general of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Nigeria’s minister for Health, and as executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Prof. Osotimehin worked with a commitment that was highly exemplary. Through his leadership and primary data-driven approach to healthcare, he contributed immensely to the discourse and practice of healthcare and wellbeing, both nationally, and on a global level.
Whether it was his advocacy against child brides; in investing in young people’s reproductive health and women’s empowerment, without crippling paperwork; advancing young women’s leadership in sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights; access to efficient health services for HIV patients, and a host of other health causes he advocated for, Osotimehin embodied an unparalleled sense of empathy that allowed him to touch the lives of so many people across continents.
Prof. Osotimehin emphasised the importance of equity as the bedrock to achieving a sustainable development and that investment in women and young people and the promotion of human rights was the surest route towards creating a world that was safer and fairer.
Until his passing, Osotimehin was a major driver and influencer of several global discourses, the foremost being “Harnessing Demographic Dividend and Investing in Youths” across African countries, which in-turn became the theme for the African Union for 2017. Prof. Osotimehin was dynamic, a visionary leader and an orator with an indomitable aura for excellence. He was a mentor whom I interacted and learnt so much from, especially because Prof. enjoyed every opportunity he could find to promote dialogue and the understanding of current trends in global health best practices. Our discussions have shaped my professional and personal career immensely.
Prof. Osotimehin may no longer be with us here mortally, but his legacies remains entrenched in our world and in every workplace he graced while he was here. I am proud to have known him, to have interacted with him on several platforms, and I am blessed by his mentorship. His legacy is a treasure every healthcare and non-healthcare professional, in Africa and beyond, would be thankful to find in their path.
Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin has left an indelible mark. His exemplary life would immortalise him.
Gabriel Adeyemo is a researcher on and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Twitter: @vinnydrey