Dr Sania Nishtar becomes new chief of Gavi vaccine alliance


Dr Sania Nishtar. — Gavi
Dr Sania Nishtar. — Gavi
  • Dr Nishtar to assume role on March 18, 2024.
  • She is currently serving as a senator in Pakistan.
  • Ex-PM aide is global public health leader for 30 years.

ISLAMABAD: Senator Dr Sania Nishtar, former special assistant of the prime minister on poverty alleviation, has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — an international organisation improving access to vaccines for children in poverty-ridden nations.

According to The News, Dr Sania Nishtar — a trained medical doctor who is currently serving as a senator — will assume the role on March 18, 2024.

In the health sector, the senator has built an outstanding career of over 30 years as a global public health leader. In the 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.

Dr Nishtar served as the chair of Gavi’s Evaluation Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2014, and in 2016 served as an independent member of Gavi’s Board.

Professor José Manuel Barroso, chair of the Gavi Board, said: “Over three decades of leadership at the national and global levels, Dr Nishtar has built a reputation as a tireless advocate for health equity, an innovative thinker and a proven doer when it comes to solving complex challenges.”

“I am impressed by her accomplishments and excited by the possibilities her appointment brings for our Alliance and our ambitions to protect future generations. I also thank David Marlow for his effective leadership as Gavi’s CEO ad interim.

His unfailing commitment to keep Gavi moving forward by leading important structural and cultural reforms has ensured Gavi is in the best possible shape to meet its current and future goals,” he said.

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Sania Nishtar said: “Health starts with life-saving vaccines. Over the past 23 years, Gavi has been one of the most impactful organisations in global health.

“I am honoured by the trust the Gavi Board has placed in me and look forward to leading one of the most impactful organisations in global health as of March 18th.”

Meanwhile, her appointment to the new coveted position also garnered her congratulatory messages.

Dr Nishtar received praise for her exceptional contributions to Pakistan from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Warm felicitations to Senator @SaniaNishtar on appointment as Chief Executive Officer of @GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance,” it stated on X.

The FO further termed the senator as a distinguished global public health leader who has demonstrated exceptional contributions to Pakistan throughout her illustrious career.

Director-General of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also felicitated Dr Nishtar on her appointment.

“Congratulations, dear @SaniaNishtar, on your appointment to serve as the next Chief Executive Officer of @gavi. My @WHO colleagues and I look forward to working closely with you and your team to reach every last child with lifesaving vaccines. Together!” he posted on X.

Former federal minister Dr Miftah Ismail termed Dr Nishtar’s appointment “a great achievement” for her and Pakistan.

“What a great achievement for Dr @SaniaNishtar and for Pakistan. Dr Nishtar makes Pakistan proud in whatever she does. Best wishes to her in her important work ahead at Gavi,” he wrote, sending best wishes to the senator.

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