Pate Appointed New GAVI CEO, Resumes August 2023 

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Dr. Muhammad Pate.
Dr. Muhammad Pate.

The former chief executive director (CEO) of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Muhammad Pate has been appointed the CEO of the Global Vaccine Alliance International (GAVI) following an extensive recruitment process.

Pate’s appointment was confirmed today (February 13, 2023) at an extraordinary meeting of the GAVI board in Geneva, Switzerland, would assume the role on August 3, 2023, replacing Dr Seth Berkley, who would step down after 12 years leading the alliance. 

Science Nigeria reports that he was selected following a year-long recruitment process overseen by the chair of the GAVI board, Prof José Manuel Barroso. 

“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,” Barroso.

“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 health care systems and help fight outbreaks and future pandemics,” Pate explained. 

Commenting on Pate’s appointment, Dr Berkley said: “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 said. 

Pate is a Nigerian physician and politician who is a professor of the practice of public health leadership in the department of global health and population at Harvard University. 

Science Nigeria reports that Pate served as the global director for health, nutrition and population at the World Bank Group and  director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents, would now lead GAVI as it continues its work to support routine immunisation, outbreak response and COVID-19 vaccinations around the world.

Also, he served as Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health between 2011 and 2013. 

While, occupying the office, he led a flagship initiative to revive routine vaccinations and primary health care, chaired a presidential task force to eradicate polio and introduced new vaccines into the country.

While serving with the World Bank and as director of 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.

He is currently the Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership at the 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.

Science Nigeria reports that Berkley will continue to serve as CEO until August 2, 2023, while working with incoming CEO Pate to ensure a smooth transition.

Racheal Abujah
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