Professor Femi Soyinka Dies at 85
The younger brother to the renowned playwright and first black African Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka is dead at 85 on Tuesday, June 14, 2022
A statement from his Family members of Ake/Isara, Ogun State, affirmed that Prof. Soyinka died in the early hours of Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at his residence in Kukumada village, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The statement was signed on behalf of his family by his son, Ayodele.
Prof. Femi Soyinka was born in 1937 and he received a medical degree in Medicine and Surgery MBChB from the University of Heidelberg, in 1964; and a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the same University in 1965. He specialized and practiced as a Dermatologist, Venereologist, and Allergologist at the University of Giessen, in 1969.
He obtained a Master of Public Health degree from Hadassah Medical School, (MPH) Israel in 1972.
He worked in the academic field for 30 years, holding various positions from Chief Medical Director to Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Provost of College of Health Sciences of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He was also involved in extensive research work on Tropical Skin Diseases and Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in collaboration with the Federal government, international donor agencies, and organizations such as the World Bank, UNDP, DFID, the British Council; and the International Development Research Centre, Canada.
He pioneered several types of research in the field of HIV/AIDS and worked as a consultant to various international and local agencies including the World Health Organization, DFID, UNDP, and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health based on his extensive experience in the subject in various parts of the country.
Prof. Femi Soyinka was at the forefront of mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. By translating the outcomes of his research into clinical practice. He impacted significantly not only the lives of numerous individuals and families living with the disease but also the nation as a whole.
He initiated the Ambassador of Hope program in Nigeria, encouraging people living with HIV/AIDs (PLWHAs) to speak up, thereby bringing much-needed public awareness to the disease at a time when knowledge was low and stigma was high. He also demonstrated technical knowledge and was involved with many other HIV/AIDs-related programs including HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, ARV programs, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), and home-based care for PLWHAs in Nigeria.
Subsequently, he contributed significantly to capacity building of indigenous organizations across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria through his non-governmental organization – New Initiative for the Enhancement of Life and Health (NELAH) previously known as; Network on Ethics/Human Rights, Law, HIV/AIDS-Prevention, Support and Care (NELA). He was a past president of the Society for AIDS in Africa and he successfully coordinated the International Conference on AIDS and STIs In Africa (ICASA) in Abuja, Nigeria in the year 2005.
He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.