Dr. Nafis Sadik, who passed away on August 14, 2022, was special advisor to the UN Secretary-General and special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and Pacific. She consistently called attention to the importance of addressing gender, population and development issues and, particularly, the inclusion of women in decision-making and carrying out of development policy. From April 1987 to December 2000, Sadik served as executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with the rank of under-secretary general. She was the first woman to head a major UN voluntarily funded program.
Sadik came to the United Nations after a distinguished career in Pakistan, where she served as director-general of the Central Family Planning Council. Since beginning her career as a physician in 1954, Sadik has taken on a number of increasingly challenging leadership roles in the family planning field. She first served as a civilian medical officer in charge of women’s and children’s wards in various Pakistani armed forces hospitals before directing hospitals and eventually heading the Planning and Training Division, the government agency charged with national family planning program.
Sadik was educated at Loreto College, Calcutta, India; received a doctor of medicine degree from Dow Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan; and completed further studies at Johns Hopkins University. She is the recipient of numerous international awards and honors, most notably, the 2001 United Nations Population Award for her contribution to population issues and improving the health of women and children of the global community.