Milestones :: Perspectives
Gavi Board reappoints Chair and CEO
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Dr Seth Berkley to help further protect millions of children from vaccine-preventable diseases
Geneva, 10 July 2017 – Dr 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.”…
“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.
Dr Flavia Bustreo who remains a Board member, was appointed Vice-Chair in January 2015…
We include the full text of the G20 speech by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. To our understanding, this is the first major international address by the new WHO DG.
Health emergencies represent some of the greatest risks to the global economy and security
Remarks delivered by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to G20 8 July 2017
It’s really a great privilege for me to be with you today to discuss the critical health threats facing our world today. And I thank you, Chancellor Merkel for your leadership in putting health on the G20 agenda and for the successful emergency simulation exercise which we have seen with health ministers in Berlin in May.
I think the exercise, as has been said, highlighted two major things among others: number one is that pandemics of infectious diseases and other threats to health, such as anti-microbial resistance, transcend borders and national interests, so vulnerability for one is vulnerability for all of us. And viruses actually do not know or do not respect borders.
And the second thing from the exercise that we found out is that we are not well prepared. That we are very often reactive rather than proactive. Therefore we require a strong global response- that we need to remain connected in our inter-connected world.
The reason we ask you to support global health is because we want to support you, you the leaders, to achieve your goals. Because pandemics, health emergencies and weak health systems not only cost lives but represent some of the greatest risks to the global economy and security that we face today.
And we know what happened as has been said with Spanish flu in 1918: more than 50 million people died.
And the SARS outbreak cost the world economy around US$ 60billion.
We have seen bird flu, MERS, Zika. Now. Cholera, Yellow Fever are back in force. WHO detects around 3000 signals a month but the world actually knows very few of them.
We do not know where the next global pandemic will occur, we don’t know when it will occur, but it will be costly in lives and dollars. With airline travel (3 billion travellers every year) global spread of any new pathogen would occur in hours. As well as untold human suffering, the economic losses would be measured in trillions,-including the losses of tourism, trade, consumer confidence and also including political problems and challenges. There will be 2 epidemics – one caused by the virus, and the other one caused by fear.
During the Ebola outbreak of 2014 in West Africa, WHO and the global community had to confront a tough reality that had left the world unprepared-what Jim Kim, the President of the World Bank calls the cycle of panic and neglect. At the height of outbreaks, we are galvanized but we quickly lose focus. Our world cannot afford this vicious cycle to continue.
The Ebola outbreak has also taught us another lesson. Our global system is only as strong as its weakest link. We must address the root causes of this problem: the lack of access of the most vulnerable people to health care, especially primary health care.
Universal health coverage and health security are the two sides of the same coin. This year, 400 million people, that is 1 out of 17, mostly poor people, women and children, around the world remain without access to health care. Strong health systems will not only be our best defence but will also be critical for attaining the SDGs.
So we propose 4 ways forward which we actually all know.
Number one is sustainably financing the global health security system to prevent, detect and respond to emerging threats, whether natural or man-made. Ensuring a guaranteed level of contingency financing for outbreaks and emergencies would be a great start.
And the second is mapping all the capacities we have can help us to move forward, mapping all capacities in countries and use them in a coordinated manner, based on their comparative advantage to strengthen preparedness.
And the third recommendation is to support the goal of Universal Health Coverage in line with the SDGs. This is the strategic solution actually, to prevent epidemics and provide quality care to our people by strengthening health systems of countries, especially in the most fragile and vulnerable parts of our world.
And number four, prioritize research and development of new medical counter-measures through the Research and Development Blueprint of the World Health Organization. WHO strongly supports the German proposal to establish the Global Collaboration Hub on Antimicrobial resistance research and development.
Delivering on these priorities will cost money but only a fraction of what remaining unprepared will cost.
WHO is prepared to fully play its leadership role. And together we need to take the responsibility of making the world a healthier and safer place. It’s possible and it’s in our hands.
Announcement on the passing of Olga Popova
by Johan Van Hoof, Global Head, Infectious Diseases & Vaccines, Janssen; Managing Director, Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V.
I am sorry to have to share some very sad news today. Olga Popova, Janssen’s Head of Global Vaccine Policy & Partnerships and member of the company’s Vaccines Leadership Team, passed away on Monday after fighting a brave battle with cancer.
Olga joined Janssen Vaccines in 2007 to lead the Government Affairs group. Since then, she directed international policy development for Janssen and was a true thought leader, helping to shape Janssen’s public policy priorities, perspectives and contributions on vaccine development and pandemic preparedness issues. Olga oversaw our relationships and ongoing dialogue with numerous international stakeholders, such as the WHO and GAVI Alliance, major philanthropic foundations, and many industry associations such as IFPMA.
Olga was always very committed to the development and implementation of life-saving vaccination programs, especially for children. She provided expert ongoing counsel to the Board of GAVI, including to support the organization’s replenishment campaign with the goal of immunizing an additional 300 million children in developing countries by 2020. And she was one of the leaders of Janssen’s Quinvaxem program, for which we are immensely grateful for her invaluable contribution.
Perhaps most notably, Olga was a driving force when Johnson & Johnson, through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, accelerated the development of our Ebola vaccine at the height of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. She played an instrumental role in forging and maintaining our relationships with key global partners, including WHO, the European Commission and the Innovative Medicines Initiative. These partnerships, and Olga’s tireless work in support of them, were critical in accelerating the development of our Ebola vaccine.
Beyond these many professional achievements, Olga was a true public champion for vaccines. She shared – proudly and with pictures – that she had her daughter vaccinated. Her dedication to the public health value of vaccines was inspiring.
Above all, we will remember Olga as a very positive, warm person and a great person. She was widely esteemed as a passionate, energetic leader and champion for people in developing nations. Her vibrant embrace of every opportunity and challenge made her a joy to work with, and she will be sorely missed by all of us who had that privilege.
Olga’s funeral was held yesterday in Calabria, Italy. Our deepest condolences and thoughts go out to her family and young daughter.
If you would like to express your own personal condolences, you may reply to me firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to include your thoughts in a condolence book from Janssen that we will ultimately share with Olga’s family.
Olga was an exceptional colleague with many talents, a great ambassador for us at many international organizations and a great human being. She will be missed dearly.