Professor Friday Okonofua, MD, PhD, ad eundem FRCOG is a medical doctor and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Benin. He is a fellow of the West African College of Surgeons, the Nigerian Postgraduate Medical College, the International College of Surgeons, the International Health program at Harvard University, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He also has PhD in international Health from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a Fellow of both the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS) as well as the New York Academy of Science.
Professor Okonofua began his academic career as lecturer 1 in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Obafemi Awolowo University in 1986. He served as Acting Head of Department between 1987 and 1992, and rose to the post of Professor in 1992. He transferred his services to the University of Benin in 1996, where he has been Head of Department, Dean, Provost, and member of the University’s Governing Council.
He has also been Secretary of the Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the National Postgraduate College of Nigeria, as well as the Secretary-General of the Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria. Between April 2005 and November 2009, he served as the Executive Director of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), supervising projects management in the 110 member countries of the organization. He was Honorary Adviser on Health to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2006 to May 29, 2007.
Professor Okonofua is a global champion of women’s health, a discipline where he has published more than 200 refereed articles. Several of his publications are in the field of maternal and newborn health, especially in sexual and reproductive health, safe motherhood and adolescent reproductive health. In recognition of this, he was honored with the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and with a special award as “champion of women’s health” by the University of California, Berkeley. He founded the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, one of Nigeria’s leading NGOs in 1995. He is the founding editor of the African Journal of Reproductive Health that was adjudged by the National Universities Commission in 2005 as the best Nigerian journal (in all disciplines) that “meets international standards”. The journal currently has one of the highest citation indexes among all African journals.
He is a recipient of more than 40 research grants, and he is a member of several international organizations and committees including the editorial board of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he has served for more than 12 years. He has attended and presented scientific papers in 100 conferences in up to 40 countries around the world. He is a reviewer to 20 international journals, and a technical consultant to many international agencies including the World Health Organization, the Macarthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation where he currently serves as a policy analyst and grant maker.
Professor Okonofua is a recipient of several honors including Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Special Achievers Award by the Nigerian Television Authority, Distinguished Services Award by the Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, Award of “the most outstanding professor of the people” by the Students Union Government of the University of Benin, and a Chieftaincy award – Efe of Okpella by the Okukpellage of Okpella Kingdom. He is married with children.