It is with great sadness for his family, UNFPA, and for the obstetric fistula community that I mourn the passing of UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. This tragic loss of a man who leaves behind a remarkable legacy of fighting for the rights and dignity of so many women and girls around the world.
Under his leadership, obstetric fistula gained significant prominence as a global issue, in particular with a 2013 UN resolution marking May 23 as the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. Marking the fourth anniversary of this resolution this year, Dr. Osotimehin called for an end to the suffering caused by fistula, urging the international community to channel greater efforts to addressing the underlying issues that perpetuate obstetric fistula, from poverty and gender inequality to lack of education and early marriage that results in childbearing. He implored us all to “realize the fundamental rights of all women and girls everywhere, with a special focus on those most left behind, excluded and shunned by society.”
Dr. Osotimehin gave voice to many of the least empowered women in this world, and was an inspiration to us all through his vision, determination and drive to do what’s right. He will be greatly missed.
About Fistula Foundation
Fistula Foundation is dedicated to treating obstetric fistula, because no woman should suffer a life of isolation and misery simply for trying to bring a child into the world. We’re grateful to donors in more than 60 countries that enable us to fund local partners who deliver life-changing fistula treatment in more than 20 countries – supporting more fistula repair surgeries worldwide than any other nonprofit organization. Based in San Jose, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, Fistula Foundation is honored to have received eleven consecutive 4-Star ratings from Charity Navigator; only one percent of charities have received this designation. For more information, visit www.FistulaFoundation.org.