Onikepe Owolabi

Director of International Research
Guttmacher Institute

2022 Leadership Journey Project: Amplifying the voice of female policy stakeholders to catalyze change in reproductive health

Onikepe Owolabi is currently the Director of International Research at the Guttmacher Institute.  She has technical and programmatic expertise in maternal, reproductive health in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia and began her career as a clinician in Nigeria involved in frontline service delivery.

She previously served as the Senior Global Director Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Family Planning (MNCH/FP) at IntraHealth International. Before joining IntraHealth, Onikepe served as Program Director of the Data Driven Policy Initiative at Vital Strategies where she led the development, and implementation of a program strengthening the collection and use of routinely collected maternal and reproductive health data for decision-making and policymaking in Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Uganda.

 Over the past 12 years, she has led and contributed to research and design of interventions and evaluations to improvement population-level measurement of maternal morbidity, facilitate access to sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls, and measure and improve the quality of sexual and reproductive health care, in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, India, Indonesia, The Central African Republic, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. She has also served on several global advisory groups including the WHO Supporting Expanded Roles for safe Abortion care by Health workers (SERAH), and the Strengthening People-Centered Accessibility, Respect and Quality project (SPARQ).

Onikepe completed her medical degree at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, her Masters in Global Health at University of Oxford and her PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She currently serves as an academic editor for PLOS One, PLOS Global Public Health, and Frontiers in Global Women’s Health and has published in several leading scientific journals.

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