By Sunday Oyinloye
Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Vaccine Alliance.
The Gavi Board approved Pate’s appointment following an extensive recruitment process
Dr. Pate is expected to assume the role in August 2023, replacing Dr Seth Berkley, who will step down after 12 years as the Chief Executive Officer of the Vaccine Alliance
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases.
Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation -over 981 million children and prevented more than 16.2 million future deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 lower-income countries.
Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningococcal and yellow fever vaccines
Speaking on his appointment, Dr.Pate sad “It will be my privilege to lead Gavi and continue to support countries to scale up critical routine immunisation programmes, reach more zero-dose children, expand access to new vaccines, transform primary health care systems, and help fight outbreaks and future pandemics.
“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 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 health care systems, and help fight outbreaks and future pandemics.”
A proven global health leader with experience at the national and international levels, Dr Pate will lead Gavi as it continues its work to support routine immunisation, outbreak response and COVID-19 vaccinations around the world.
Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, who was selected following a yearlong recruitment process personally overseen by the Chair of the Gavi Board, Professor José Manuel Barroso, will bring a wealth of experience to the role.
A medical doctor trained in both internal medicine and infectious diseases, with an MBA from Duke University in the United States, Dr Pate 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 health care, chaired a presidential taskforce to eradicate polio and introduced new vaccines into the country.
While serving as Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population of the World Bank and Director of the Global Financing Facility at the World Bank between 2019 and 2021,he led the Bank’s US$ 18 billion COVID-19 global health response and represented the Bank on various boards, including those of Gavi, the Global Fund, CEPI and UNAIDS.
Pate is currently the 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.
Professor Barroso has this to say about his appointment: “Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate stood out in a field of world-class candidates. With his knowledge and experience of both national immunization 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.”
Sitting CEO Dr Seth Berkley has led Gavi for more than half of its existence, making it a centrepiece within the global health landscape, including recently co-establishing COVAX to serve countries during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, having so far shipped nearly 1.9 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to 146 countries.
Since Dr Berkley took the helm in 2011, the Alliance has averted 11.8 million future deaths (compared to 4.5 million between 2000 and 2010); and has helped immunise more than 676 million children – more than double the 305 million children reached between 2000 and 2010.