Home Columns In Memory of a Young Advocate of Women’s Health; Dr. Fatimah Tumsah

In Memory of a Young Advocate of Women’s Health; Dr. Fatimah Tumsah

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By Mu’azu Muhammad


It was in the early hours of Friday 18th of September; that I heard several alert tones from my phone that rang to notify me that, my twitter handle is being mentioned or copied in a tweet. I quickly grab it and saw something like ‘R.I.P. #FateemahTumsah’. I asked myself then, which Fatima? How? When? Where and Why? I was shocked and couldn’t move an inch for some minutes. I then asked other friends to give me more details of what happened to her. I later learnt that, she was involved in a ghastly road accident on her way to Abuja from Kaduna on 17th September, 2015. We are all social media geek, I then took to my Facebook and share the bad news and also asked friends to pray for her.

We were friends with late Fatimah on Social Media for a while, the work we do as advocates for the health and well being of girls and women connected us. But I first met her late last year, during the Youth Pre-Conference of the 3rd Nigeria’s National Family Planning Conference in 2014. It was very interesting and interactive forum that focused on addressing the challenges and Family Planning needs of Young People in Nigeria. Going by her experience of working with Pathfinder International in Nigeria, developing local capacity, delivering and managing high quality reproductive health programs, and addressing maternal and child health, we privately discussed deeply about the relevant socio-cultural challenges that affects both programming and financing of Family Planning in northern Nigeria.  I can still sense the passion and energy in late Dr. Fatima Tumsah about the health and well being of women and girls throughout her responses. Few weeks to her death, two of us were nominated from northern Nigeria to be part of the steering committee of the Nigeria Youth Family Planning Network.

Late Dr. Fatimah Tumsah worked with Pathfinder International in Nigeria; as Program Officer. She organizes and facilitates advocacy strategy with advocacy working groups in their project focused states. Late Fatima was also the main liaison between state government agencies and civil society stakeholders. Her work then include, project planning, implementation, monitoring and supervision. She is a medical doctor with Master of Science with research focus on reproductive health. May her gentle soul; rest in peace.

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