By Francis IWUCHUKWU

A Professor of Dermatology, Venereology and Clinical Immunology, Femi Soyinka, is dead.

He died at the age of 85 in the early hours of Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at his home in Kukumada village, Ibadan, Oyo State.

According to a statement from the Soyinka Family of Ake/Isara, Ogun State, signed by his son, Ayodele, the late Professor was born in 1937, and 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 specialised and practised as a Dermatologist, Venereologist and Allergologist at the University of Giessen, in 1969.

In 1972, he obtained a Master of Public Health degree from Hadassah Medical School, (MPH) Israel.

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.

The late Professor was also involved in extensive research work on Tropical Skin Diseases and Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in collaboration with the Federal Government, FG, 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 counselling 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.

The statement added that burial arrangements would be announced by the family later.

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