By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has expressed sadness over the death of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA).
In a statement issued by the National President, Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole, NAWOJ described the death of the former health minister as a colossal loss to women and children in Nigeria.
“The news of the death of Osotimehin comes as a rude shock to the association and its members because of his numerous contributions to improving the health of women and children.
“When he became minister of Health in 2008 he prioritised the health of women and children by making primary health care take the centre stage of health services in Nigeria.
“We recall that he initiated a national health plan in all 36 states that focused on Primary Health care.
“As expected, maternal and child mortality in Nigeria began to drop as from 2009.
“NAWOJ recalls the giant strides which Osotimehin took when he was the head of the nations agency for the fight against AIDS then called National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA).
“The ex-minister then sensitized Nigerians to the risk of HIV and AIDS and how to prevent it, indeed many were saved,” she said.
Omowole extolled the ex-minister for taking his fight for women and children to the United Nations where he was head of the UNFPA, an agency that focuses on health of women and children.
“His death is indeed a great loss to Nigerian women, we will never forget him.
“The Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, in a condolence message on twitter attested that the death of Osotimehin was a great loss to women and children in Nigeria.
“We urge Nigerians especially those in the health sector to emulate the doggedness of Prof. Osotimehin in prioritising health issues,” she said.
NAWOJ therefore commiserated with the Federal Government, Nigerians and the immediate family of the Late Professor.
Omowole prayed God to give the family and all Nigerians the fortitude to bear the great loss.