Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) has appointed Muhammad Pate, a former minister of state for health in Nigeria, as its new chief executive officer (CEO).
In a statement on Monday, Gavi said Pate was appointed as CEO following a year-long recruitment process overseen by Jose Barraso, chairperson of the Gavi board.
Pate is expected to officially resume as CEO on August 3 and will lead Gavi in continuing its work to support routine immunisation, outbreak response, and COVID vaccinations globally.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.
“He 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.”
Commenting on Pate’s appointment, Seth Berkley, current Gavi CEO, said he is confident in Gavi’s future under his successor’s leadership, having worked with him during Pate’s 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.
On his part, Pate said he is 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,” he said.
“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.”