Global health alliance poised to tackle two biggest killers of children: pneumonia and diarrhoea
Julian Lob-Levyt. GAVI/2009/Studio Casagrande.
Geneva, 11 August 2010 – Julian Lob-Levyt will step down as CEO of the GAVI Alliance in October to take up a major role in the private sector after leading the public-private global health partnership through nearly six years of growth and innovation.
Under his leadership, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation established new and cost-effective approaches to the business of development and enabled many of the world’s poorest countries to build their own strong platforms to reach 80 per cent of children with routine vaccination.
Since he joined GAVI in January 2005, the GAVI Alliance’s disbursements to developing countries have grown from US$ 200 million to nearly US$ 1 billion per year. Over the last decade, GAVI has reached 257 million children with routine immunisation, accelerated access to new vaccines and saved more than 5.4 million lives.
Dr Lob-Levyt will continue as CEO until October to oversee GAVI’s first Resource Mobilisation Meeting on 6 October at which existing and potential donors will be asked to pledge additional funds to enable new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhoea to be added to immunisation programmes.
The introduction of these two new vaccines into developing countries is expected to save 4.2 million lives by 2015 making a major contribution to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
In November, Dr Lob-Levyt, who is British, will take on his new role as Managing Director of DAI Europe and Senior Vice President of DAI, based in London. Since 1970, DAI has worked in 150 developing and transition countries, providing comprehensive development solutions in areas including HIV/AIDS and avian influenza control, crisis mitigation and stability operations, agriculture and agribusiness, democratic governance and public sector management, private sector development and financial services, economics and trade, water and natural resources management, and energy and climate change.
“I am excited to take on this new role but I am also confident I am leaving GAVI in a strong position to deliver on its mission,” said Dr Lob-Levyt. “The challenges we faced and the results we at GAVI have achieved together over the last few years inspired me to stay much longer than I ever intended.”
“GAVI could not be in better shape to deliver its new five-year strategy, in spite of these challenging financial times,” he added.
In 2008 Dr Lob-Levyt oversaw the public-private partnership’s transition out of the UN system establishing it as an independent international organisation based in Switzerland. He also built a strong and respected team of senior managers enabling him to leave the GAVI Secretariat in capable hands until a new CEO is recruited.
"After nearly six successful years as CEO of the GAVI Alliance, Julian is understandably eager to move on to a new professional challenge. We wish him every success in this new stage in his career, and thank him for his great contribution to immunisation and health in the world’s poorest countries,” said Mary Robinson, GAVI Alliance Board Chair.
“Julian has overseen steady growth in the GAVI Secretariat, the change in our governance structure, a significant increase in funding despite a difficult economic climate, and, most importantly, the improvement of the lives of millions of children who have benefited from the work of the alliance as a whole,” she added.
Throughout his tenure, Dr Lob-Levyt insisted the alliance hold itself accountable to the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. He has worked closely with the World Bank, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the World Health Organization to develop strengthened and more integrated health services and delivery platforms and empowered government officials and health workers in developing countries to take the lead in building strong health systems.
Dr Lob-Levyt oversaw a period of creativity and innovation in global health which included the 2006 launch of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) and the creation of the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for pneumococcal vaccines.
IFFIm, which converts long-term government pledges into cash by selling Vaccine Bonds on the world’s capital markets, has already raised US$2.7 billion for GAVI programmes enabling GAVI to double its spending on routine immunisation for children in more than 70 developing countries.
In March this year, he announced the first agreements with two major pharmaceutical firms to supply life-saving pneumococcal vaccines for 10 years at a greatly-reduced price which will ensure children in the world’s poorest countries will have access to protection against pneumococcal disease years earlier than they would have had without the AMC.
Under his leadership, GAVI has continued to mature into a respected major global health organisation reflected in its inclusion in 2007 as a founding member of the H8 which continually seeks improved coordination among the world’s eight premier health organisations.