FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2010
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The International Women’s Health Coalition Lauds The Appointment Of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin As Executive Director Of The United Nations Population Fund
A respected member of the medical profession, Dr. Osotimehin is expected to provide exceptional leadership in upholding human rights in the health sector.
New York, NY– The International Women’s Health Coalition welcomes the announcement of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin as Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
“Babatunde Osotimehin’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for sexual and reproductive rights and health,” said IWHC President Adrienne Germain. “Dr. Osotimehin brings to the job substantial knowledge of and an impressive track record in health policies, programs and services.”
This makes Dr. Osotimehin particularly qualified to lead an agency whose mandate is to promote and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights. Securing these requires implementation of a “package” of integrated health services (contraception, safe abortion, maternity care, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS), buttressed by sexuality and gender education and protection of human rights.
As provost of Nigeria’s premier medical school, and one of the most respected members of the medical profession, Dr. Osotimehin has consistently provided exceptional leadership on all aspects of reproductive health. As both Minister of Health and Director General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS, he demonstrated unparalleled ability to build consensus, between the capital and state governments, as well as inside and outside the government, on multi-dimensional strategies and investments to address several of the country’s most challenging sexual and reproductive health issues.
“Two unusual aspects of Dr, Osotimehin’s record as a senior government official,” said Germain, “are his collaboration with nongovernmental organizations and his commitment to upholding human rights in the health sector. For him, collaboration means serious consultation and mutual respect, and protection of human rights entails first and foremost attention to the most marginalized and disempowered.”
Bene Madunagu of the Girls Power Initiative, working nationwide in Nigeria, also lauded the decision. “We at Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) are overjoyed to hear that Professor Osotimehin will lead this fundamentally important agency,” said Madunagu. “He has been one of our most unfailing defenders and supporters in the struggle to get the rights of girls recognized and ensure that they have the power to exercise them.”
“Thanks to visionary leadership from Prof. Osotimehin, GPI is able to work with the State AIDS Control Agencies to make comprehensive sexuality education and health services available to young people,” said Madunagu. “And my generation of women has also benefited enormously from his devotion to women’s health and rights.”
Dr. Brian Brink, Chair of IWHC’s Board of Directors applauded Dr. Osotimehin’s appointment. “Today’s news gives me hope for a greater synergy between global health policies and funding and the actual needs of women and young people everywhere. Dr. Osotimehin truly listens when women speak, and I feel confident that he will bring their voices, needs, and innovative solutions to the halls of power.”
The International Women’s Health Coalition leads global and local actions to secure every woman’s right to a just and healthy life. We are creating a world where women are free from discrimination, sexual coercion and violence, and have access to health services and information. Visit www.iwhc.org
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