Gavi names Nigeria’s Pate new Chief Executive Officer
Former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, was yesterday, appointed new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
In a statement, the organisation said the Nigerian, who was also Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), would officially resume duties on August 3 this year.
A renowned global health leader, Pate will lead the alliance to sustain support for routine immunisation, outbreak response and COVID-19 vaccinations around the world.
He is celebrated for his giant strides in Nigeria’s efforts to eradicate polio and improve regular immunisation.
Pate, who was selected following a year-long recruitment process overseen by chair of Gavi Board, Prof. José Manuel Barroso, is bringing a wealth of experience to his new role.
A medical doctor trained in both internal medicine and infectious diseases, with an MBA from Duke University in the United States, the incoming CEO served as Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health between 2011 and 2013. In this role, he led a flagship initiative to revive routine vaccinations and primary healthcare and chaired a presidential taskforce to eradicate polio and introduce new vaccines in the country.
While serving as Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population of the World Bank and Director of Global Financing Facility at same institution between 2019 and 2021, he led the financial institution’s $18 billion COVID-19 global health response and represented it on various boards, including those of Gavi, Global Fund, CEPI and Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS). He is currently Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership at Harvard Chan School of Public Health and has served on several health-focused boards and expert panels in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors during his career.
Commenting on the appointment, Barroso noted: “Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate stood out in a field of world-class candidates. With his knowledge and experience of both national immunisation programming and international emergency response and global finance, I am confident that Gavi will continue to build on its vision and mission, as well as navigate the many challenges and opportunities we will face.”
On the appointment, Pate said: “I’m deeply honoured to be joining Gavi as its incoming CEO. Gavi is one of the most impactful organisations in global health, a testament to the great work of the Alliance’s partners and secretariat staff. It will be my privilege to lead it, building on the work of Dr. Seth Berkley, and continue to support countries to scale up critical routine immunisation programmes, reach more zero-dose children, expand access to new vaccines, transform primary healthcare systems and fight outbreaks and future pandemics.”
Also speaking, Berkley obaserved: “Leading Gavi and helping the Alliance to continually surpass itself in terms of saving lives, protecting children and supporting countries during global health emergencies has been the greatest honour of my career. I am proud and humbled to have been part of what the Alliance has achieved, and I am confident in its future under Pate’s leadership: having worked with him during his time as minister and at the World Bank, I know he understands intimately the landscape we work in and will be uncompromising in his drive for public health equity.”
Berkley will continue to serve as CEO until August 3, while working with incoming CEO Pate to ensure a smooth transition.
Gavi is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half of the world’s children against some of the known deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, it has immunised a whole generation – over 981 million children – and prevented more than 16.2 million future deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 low-income countries.
Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems and funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningococcal and yellow fever vaccines.”