The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday said it welcomes the appoint- ment of former Nigeria’s Finance minister and coordinator of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Chair-elect of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
It said in a statement signed by its Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, that Okonjo- Iweala will take up the position from January 2016.
The WHO statement stated that “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 immunization 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 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”.
The UNION understands that 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 five 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 immunization, en- suring that vaccines are safe and of assured quality, and providing support to coun- tries to implement immunization programmes.