Gavi Board reappoints Chair and CEO

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Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Dr Seth Berkley to help further protect millions of children from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Geneva, 10 July 2017Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Dr Seth Berkley have been unanimously reappointed Chair of the Gavi Alliance Board and Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for three and four year terms, respectively.

Since her appointment in 2016, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s leadership has enabled the Alliance to further its engagement with developing countries and for partners to scale-up and finance immunisation programmes, while fostering public-private initiatives to improve access to healthcare for those most in need. Dr Okonjo-Iweala has also been an instrumental advocate for the positive economic benefits of vaccination. The direction she has provided to the Gavi Board has been critical in the implementation of the Gavi 2016-2020 strategy, which aims to support the vaccination of a further 300 million children against life-threatening diseases, preventing 5 to 6 million deaths.

“I am greatly honoured by the confidence the Gavi Alliance Board has placed in me and as Chair of the Board I am excited to be given the opportunity to continue to dedicate my work to that greatest purpose of protecting the lives of millions of the poorest children in the world with life-saving vaccines,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “Universal access to immunisation will play a fundamental role in bringing about healthy, resilient populations and in ensuring that we develop stronger economies as we face the challenges of the next century.”

Under Dr Seth Berkley’s leadership, Gavi has dramatically improved access to vaccination for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children, with more than half a billion children reached in the 73 poorest countries with life-saving vaccines, preventing approximately 8 million deaths. Since his appointment in 2011, Gavi-supported countries have carried out around 250 vaccine introductions while the total cost of fully immunising a child with pentavalent, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines fell by 43%. As infectious disease epidemics continue to pose an increasing threat to global health security, Gavi has also taken on a stronger role in financing and managing vaccine stockpiles. 

In 2015, Dr Berkley led Gavi through its second successful replenishment, raising US$ 7.5 billion in donor commitments to support its new 2016-2020 strategic period. Dr Berkley spearheaded increased engagement with the private sector while advocating for stronger in-country use of private sector innovation to increase vaccine coverage and equity. Dr Berkley has also developed several initiatives to better promote sustainability, innovation and empowerment, while shifting the focus of the organisation on impact, strengthening partnerships to improve coverage and equity and implementing new accountability frameworks.

“I am extremely humbled and proud to have received the support of the entire Gavi Board,” said Dr Seth Berkley. “We are now entering a critical period for Gavi as we approach the mid-point of the 2016-2020 strategic period and as programme implementation reaches its peak. At the same time, Gavi is launching its mid-term review (MTR) process, the first milestone towards the next replenishment. I look forward to working together with partners to define our next strategy and achieve Gavi’s goal of providing equal access to life-saving vaccines.”

These reappointments follow an extensive performance review which drew on the excellent results of both individuals, as well as, in the case of the CEO, the performance of the Gavi Alliance since his appointment.

Appointment of Gunilla Carlsson as Vice-Chair of the Gavi Board

The Gavi Board has also appointed Gunilla Carlsson, former Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, as the new Vice-Chair of the Board. Ms Carlsson replaces Dr Flavia Bustreo, World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Family, Women's and Children's Health.

Ms Carlsson joined the Gavi Board before the 2015 replenishment meeting in Berlin after playing a major role in supporting the Gavi replenishment event in London in 2011. Her extensive experience in domestic, European Union and international politics and negotiations, as well as in policy reform implementation and in mechanisms for ensuring both efficiency and accountability in complex organisations, will be crucial for the Gavi in the coming years.

“I am delighted by the Board’s decision and look forward to supporting the Gavi Chair in her work to strengthen Gavi’s reach and impact,” said Gunilla Carlsson. “Vaccines are critical not only to improve the lives of women and children but also to empower families and communities by expanding access to primary healthcare. I am also grateful to Dr Flavia Bustreo for her strong support and counsel during a period of remarkable expansion of Gavi’s programmes.”

Dr Flavia Bustreo who remains a Board member, was appointed Vice-Chair in January 2015. Her tireless efforts have helped the Gavi Board to remain targeted and focused on achieving its mission and vision. She has brought to the Alliance extensive and priceless experience in global health, with a strong focus on diseases that affect the poor and the disadvantaged.

"I’m extremely grateful to the Gavi Board for the past years spent on the most worthy goal of saving the lives of tens of thousands more women and children every year,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo. ”Immunisation is one of the most powerful development interventions that we have. We have made enormous progress so far, however we must not rest until all children in the developing world are reached with vaccines.”

 

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