Nigerian health expert Muhammad Pate has stepped down as the next chief executive officer of Gavi. Close sources say he is leaving the Vaccine Alliance job to take up a position in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet.
The Gavi Board said Pate, who accepted to become Gavi’s next CEO in February will not be able to join Gavi due to a request to return and contribute to his home country, Nigeria.
The body has instead appointed David Marlow, current Gavi’s chief operating officer as the interim CEO effective August 3, 2023.
“Gavi fully respects the decision and wishes Pate the very best for the future,” the organisation said in a statement released on Monday.
Meanwhile, speculations are brewing that Pate might be appointed Nigeria’s next Minister of Health, given his qualification and broad base of experience in public health globally.
Pate is a highly respected figure in the global health community, and his departure from Gavi will be deeply felt.
His decision to join Tinubu’s cabinet is being interpreted as a sign of the importance that the president places on health, with hopes that Pate will play a key role in shaping the future of health policy in Nigeria.
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“I had a feeler he may be picked as the next Minister for health. This news particularly excites me because he isn’t just a medical doctor but a technocrat. I hope he really gets the job and I wish him well,” Opeoluwa @OpeBee, said in a tweet.
I had a feeler he may be picked as the next Minister for health. This news particularly excites me because he isn’t just a medical doctor but a technocrat. I hope he really gets the job and I wish him well.
— OPEOLUWA 😎😎 (@OpeBee) June 26, 2023
Who is Muhammad Pate?
Pate has served as a global director of Health, Nutrition, and Population Global Practice at the World Bank, director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children, and Adolescents, and the Julio Frenk Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard Chan School.
A profile on Harvard University Center for African Studies website states U.S. and Nigerian national was until recently the chief executive officer of Big Win Philanthropy, based in the UK.
He served as the minister of state for health between 2011 and 2013 under former President Goodluck Jonathan but resigned to take up a professorial position at Duke University’s Global Health Institute in the US.
After joining the World Bank Group in 2000, Pate worked on health issues in several regions, including Africa, East Asia, and the Pacific.
He worked with some of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and led programs that resulted in significant changes to healthcare systems and disease control worldwide, during his stint with the World Economic Forum and the World Bank Group.
Pate is a medical doctor trained in both internal medicine and infectious diseases. He has a Master’s in health system management from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and an MBA with a certificate in health sector management from Duke University.
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 over 981 million children and prevented more than 16.2 million future deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 lower-income countries.