The World Health Organization has applauded the recent appointment of former minister of Finance and coordinating minister of Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Chair-elect of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a renowned development economist and former Nigerian Finance Minister.
She is expected to bring more than 33 years of her development and financial expertise to the Gavi Board at a critical period for immunization in developing countries.
Earlier this year, WHO warned that vaccines are not being delivered equitably or reliably and that only one out of the six key vaccination targets for 2015 is currently on track, the introduction of under-utilized vaccines, a target to which Gavi has contributed significantly.
In taking up the position of Board Chair, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will succeed Dagfinn Høybråten, a former Norwegian Minister of Health and current Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
She will also work closely with Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, who is Vice Chair of Gavi.
Since 2000, Gavi has supported the immunization of more than half a billion additional children, leading to seven million future deaths being averted.
WHO is one of the founding members of Gavi, a public-private partnership formed in 2000, to address global inequities in access to and coverage of available lifesaving vaccines.
Over the next 5 years, WHO will continue to lead collective efforts to achieve and sustain universal vaccination coverage as outlined in the Decade of Vaccines Global Vaccine Action Plan.
Similarly, the Global Fund has congratulated Gavi and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on her appointment as Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The Global Fund said it is expecting Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to bring her experience in fiscal management to her new post with Gavi, including experience as managing director of the World Bank from 2007 to 2011.
As a key partner, the Global Fund looks forward to a productive working relationship with Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings deep experience and insight in global health issues to her new role at Gavi. The Global Fund anticipates close collaboration, particularly in our joint work around systems for health, women’s and girls’ health.
The Global Fund also recognizes the important global health contribution of Dagfinn Høybråten, Gavi’s outgoing chair and former Norwegian health minister. During Mr. Høybråten’s tenure, Gavi made strong progress towards its five-year target of immunizing nearly a quarter of a billion children between 2011 and 2015.