BY PRUDENCE IJAH, ABUJA
The wife of the late former Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, Funke Osotimehin, has urged government at all levels to look at the world through the lens of Babatunde Osotimehin who viewed life from the view of the disadvantaged and ensured young ones are given a voice thereby empowering the vulnerable via improved access to health care, and education amongst others.
Osotimehin who disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the inaugural Professor Babatunde Osotimehin Annual Lecture 2018 said her late husband’s passion and vision was to improve the lives of women, adolescents and youths around the world.
The Acting Country representative of UNFPA Eugene Kongyui described the late Dr Babatunde Osotimehin as one whose advocacy was focused on youth health and participation, marshalling global efforts towards eliminating gender-based violence and harmful practices and improving maternal health.
According to the President of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health Professor Oladapo Ladipo, “Babatunde was one of the brightest brains Africa had, he recognized that the future lies with the youth and if he had his way, he would have promulgated a law that all girls must have access to free primary and secondary school education for better informed choices in life”.
The Chairman of the National Population Commission Eze Duru Iheoma asked everyone present at the inaugural lecture ” what they would do in the honour of Prof Osotimehin” advised that all the virtues that the late Babatunde Osotimehin believed in should be upheld and kept alive.
While delivering the inaugural lecture, on the Implication of the Population of 190 million on Economic Development and Health/Well being of Future Generations of Nigerians, the minister of health Professor Isaac Adewole said Osotimehin was a family planning advocate with focus on young people and his favourite quote was “No woman should die while bringing life”.
Adewole hinted that Nigeria contributes 15% to global maternal mortality and maternal deaths leads to several challenges therefore the need for increase in the uptake of contraceptives in the country.
According to Adewole, “access to family planning is a human right. The federal government is working towards improved access to family planning commodities through government hospitals nationwide”
The minister of Health advocated for accelerated urgent intervention to be deployed in harnessing the youths, adding that Nigeria is at the threshold of reaping Demographic dividend.
At the lecture, ten out of over two hundred undergraduate students who participated in the essay competition emerged winners and the first three winners were presented with cash prices.