UN mourns Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, "great champion for women, girls"

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UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin during 11 Feb 2016 visit to the Gender Based Response Centre at the Mallam Atta market in Accra, Ghana. Photo: Neslon Muffuh

The UN has lost a great champion of health and well-being, especially for women and girls, the Secretary-General said on Monday.

António Guterres released a statement mourning the death of his "colleague and friend" Babatunde Osotimehin, the head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Dr Babatunde died in his home at the age of 68.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The passing of the Executive Director of UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin, has been described by his colleagues as a "devastating loss" for the agency and especially for women, girls and young people.

Dr Babatunde was "bold and never afraid of a challenge" and his strong leadership helped keep the health and rights of the world's women and girls high on the global agenda, the statement by UNFPA reads.

UN chief António Guterres echoed this view, stating that Dr Babatunde was "admired" globally for his leadership of UNFPA and for his forceful advocacy, for women and girls in particular.

Sexual and reproductive health rights are among the most important, and often sensitive, on the international agenda, Mr Guterres noted.

But Dr Babatunde's calm yet ardent efforts helped families get the services they needed, the UN chief emphasized as he gave thanks for the late doctor's life of service.

He was Nigeria's Minister of Health before he became UNFPA's fourth Executive Director on 1 January 2011.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06″

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