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Global vaccine alliance Gavi picks Pakistani senator Sania Nishtar as next CEO

Senator Sania Nishtar to assume her role on March 18

Gavi, the international vaccine alliance, has picked a Pakistani senator as its next chief executive officer (CEO), the alliance announced on Thursday.

In a statement, Gavi Vaccine Alliance said that its board has approved the appointment of Senator Sania Nishtar as its next chief executive officer.

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She will assume her role on March 18.

“I am honoured by the trust the Gavi Board placed in me and look forward to working with Gavi’s talented staff and skilled Alliance partners,” Nishtar posted on X.

Currently a member of the Pakistan Senate, Nishtar belongs to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

She also served as special assistant to the prime minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, a role with the status of a federal minister in Khan’s cabinet from 2018 to 2022.

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A trained medical doctor, she also served as a caretaker federal minister in 2013.

Nishtar was also the inaugural chair of the UN secretary-general’s Independent Accountability Panel (IAP) for women’s and children’s health and co-chair of the WHO Independent High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases.

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

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate more than half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing countries and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other private sector partners.

Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped immunize a whole generation of over 1 billion children, and prevented more than 17.3 million future deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 78 lower-income countries, according to the organization.