Posted by News Express | 24 September 2015 | 3,596 times
The World Health Organization (WHO) and The Global Fund have warmly welcomed the appointment of Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Chair-elect of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. She will take up the position of chair from January 2016.
WHO said on Tuesday after the news of the appointment was broken: “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a renowned development economist and former Nigerian Finance Minister. She brings more than 33 years of development and financial expertise to the Gavi Board at a critical period for immunisation in developing countries.
“Earlier this year, WHO warned that vaccines are not being delivered equitably or reliably and that only 1 out of the 6 key vaccination targets for 2015 is currently on track – the introduction of under-utilised 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 immunisation 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. WHO plays a critical role providing global recommendations on immunisation, ensuring that vaccines are safe and of assured quality, and providing support to countries to implement.”
In its own message, The Global Fund congratulated Gavi and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, whomit described as “the renowned development economist.”
The Fund said: “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala served until recently as the Nigerian Finance Minister, one of many positions in her distinguished career. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings more than 30 years’ 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 recognises 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 immunising nearly a quarter of a billion children between 2011 and 2015.”
•Photo shows Okonjo-Iweala.
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