Professor Friday Okonofua is the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences in Ondo State of Nigeria. He graduated MB ChB from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1978 and has PhD (Public Health) from the Karolinska University in Sweden. He is a fellow of the West African College of Surgeons, the Nigerian Postgraduate Medical College, the International College of Surgeons, the Takemi program in International Health at Harvard University, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS), and the African Academy of Sciences (FAAS).
Professor Okonofua rose to the post of Professor at the Obafemi Awolowo University 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 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) after a highly competitive interview in London in which more than 70 professors around the world participated. 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 289 refereed articles. His publications are in the fields of maternal health, reproductive health, and adolescent reproductive health. In recognition of this, he was honored with the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, UK in 2008 and with a special award as “champion of women’s health” by the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. 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”.
He is the lead recipient of 45 research grants, including grants from the Ford Foundation, Macarthur Foundation, Packard Foundation, the Population Council, World Health Organization, the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the World Bank among several others. He is a reviewer to 20 international journals, including the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology where he has served as a member of the Editorial Board for over 15 years. He served as a policy analyst and grant maker at the West African office of the Ford Foundation between 2010 and 2015.
Professor Okonofua is a recipient of several honors including the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Special Achievers Award by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Distinguished Services Award by the Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Award of “the most outstanding professor of the people” by the Students Union Government of the University of Benin, and two Chieftaincy awards – High Chief Efe of Okpella by the Okukpellage of Okpella Kingdom, and the Gbekoleke of Ondo Kingdom by the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom. He is married to Mrs. Patience Okonofua (nee Okhiulu) and they are blessed with children.