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Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate of Nigeria to become next CEO of the Vaccine Alliance, Gavi

The vaccine alliance, better known as Gavi, has announced the selection of Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate as its new CEO. On August 3, 2023, Dr. Pate will begin serving as CEO in earnest. Dr. Pate will head Gavi as it continues to support routine immunization, outbreak response, and COVID-19 vaccinations around the world. A recognized global health leader with experience at the national and international levels, Dr. Pate will be in this position for a number of years.

Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, who was chosen after a year-long hiring procedure personally overseen by Professor José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Gavi Board, will bring a lot of experience to the position. Dr. Pate, a physician with training in internal medicine and infectious diseases who also holds an MBA from Duke University in the United States, held the position of Minister of State for Health for Nigeria from 2011 to 2013. He chaired a presidential taskforce to end polio, oversaw the introduction of new vaccines, and led a major project to revitalize routine vaccinations and primary healthcare.

Between 2019 and 2021, he led the World Bank’s US$ 18 billion COVID-19 global health response and represented the Bank on numerous boards, including those of Gavi, the Global Fund, CEPI, and UNAIDS. He also served as the World Bank’s Global Director for Health, Nutrition, and Population and Director of the Global Financing Facility. He currently holds the position of Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Throughout his career, he has served on a number of health-related boards and expert panels in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

Professor Barroso commented on the selection, stating that Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate stood out in a pool of exceptional contenders. I am certain that Gavi will continue to advance its vision and goal and successfully navigate the numerous obstacles and possibilities we will encounter thanks to his expertise and experience in both national immunization programming and international emergency response and global funding.

I feel incredibly honored to be joining Gavi as its new CEO, Dr. Pate remarked after the Gavi Board’s extraordinary meeting today confirmed his appointment. A tribute to the outstanding work of the Alliance partners and Secretariat employees, Gavi is one of the most influential organizations in global health. Building on Dr. Seth Berkley’s work, it will be an honor for me to lead it and support nations as they expand vital routine immunization programs, reach more children who have not received any vaccines, increase access to new vaccines, transform primary healthcare systems, and fight outbreaks and potential pandemics.

Gavi’s current CEO, Dr. Seth Berkley, has been in charge of the organization for more than half of its time, turning it into a major player in the world of global health. He most recently helped found COVAX to help countries during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and Gavi has already distributed nearly 1.9 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 146 nations. Since Dr. Berkley took over in 2011, the Alliance has helped immunize more than 676 million children, more than double the 305 million children reached between 2000 and 2010. It has also helped prevent 11.8 million future deaths (compared to 4.5 million between 2000 and 2010).

During his tenure, Gavi added a number of new vaccines to its portfolio, including those for HPV, polio, cholera, and malaria. Additionally, as a result of Dr. Berkley’s commitment to health equity, its current strategy cycle is focused on reaching zero-dose children in underserved communities. The Alliance also assumed a more significant role in emergency response, creating vaccine stockpiles for ailments like cholera and establishing creative funding methods to pay for the urgent procurement of Ebola and COVID-19 vaccines. The development of Gavi’s operations during his leadership had a significant positive impact on the economy, unleashing approximately US$ 160 billion in benefits as opposed to US$ 24 billion in the organization’s first ten years.

The greatest honor of my career has been leading Gavi and assisting the Alliance to consistently transcend itself in terms of saving lives, safeguarding children, and assisting nations during global health catastrophes, Dr. Berkley remarked in response to Dr. Pate’s nomination. Since I worked with Muhammad while he was Minister and at the World Bank, I know he has a thorough understanding of the environment we operate in and that he will be unwavering in his pursuit of public health equity. I am proud and humbled to have contributed to what the Alliance has accomplished, and I am optimistic about its future under his leadership.

Dr. Berkley will remain CEO until August 2, 2023, collaborating with Dr. Pate, who will succeed him, to ensure a seamless transfer.

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