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PTI Senator Sania Nishtar appointed as CEO of vaccine alliance Gavi


PTI Senator and former special assistant to the prime minister Dr Sania Nishtar was on Thursday appointed as the chief executive officer of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.

Gavi, the global vaccine alliance which played a crucial role in the Covid-19 pandemic, said in a press release issued today that Nishtar will assume office from March 18.

“A trained medical doctor, Dr Nishtar has built an outstanding career over 30 years as a global public health leader. In national government, she served between 2018 and 2022 as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, a role with the status of a federal minister.

“In 2013, during Pakistan’s caretaker government, she served as a federal minister with responsibility for re-establishing the country’s Ministry of Health among other roles, winning acclaim for transparency and accountability during her time in office,” the press release said.

It added that her appointment would come at an important time for the organisation with its fifth five-year strategic period drawing to a close at the end of 2025 as Gavi will seek board approval during the current years for its 2026–2030 strategy.

“Alongside future strategy, fundraising will be a priority for Dr Nishtar, with plans already in place for a high-level event to launch Gavi’s investment opportunity, to be co-hosted by France and Africa CDC in June.”

It quoted Professor José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Gavi Board, as saying that Dr Nishtar had built a reputation as a “tireless advocate for health equity, an innovative thinker and a proven doer when it comes to solving complex challenges” over three decades of leadership at the national and global levels.

“I am impressed by her accomplishments and excited by the possibilities her appointment brings for our alliance and our ambitions to protect future generations.”

Commenting on her appointment, Nishtar stressed that health began with life-saving vaccines.

“Over the past 23 years, Gavi has been one of the most impactful organisations in global health. The task ahead is enormous — from health impacts of climate change, to the need to tackle vaccine inequity, prepare for future outbreaks and boost routine immunisation, which I believe is the gateway to achieving universal health coverage,” the press release quoted her as saying.

“I am honoured by the trust the Gavi board has placed in me and look forward to working with Gavi’s talented staff and skilled alliance partners to ensure Gavi reaches hundreds of millions of children in lower-income countries with life-saving vaccines against deadly and debilitating diseases,” Nishtar added.

Gavi interim-CEO David Marlow said he was looking forward to working closely with Dr Nishtar and the alliance’s partners “as we strive to meet our ambitious goals”.

World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus congratulated her on the appointment, saying he and his team looked forward to working with her to “reach every last child with lifesaving vaccines”.

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