By Jacob Ajakaiye, in Kano
Muhammad Ali Pate, the Nigerian former junior health minister, has received two appointments from the World Bank Group and the public health graduate school of Harvard University, the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
Pate, a medical doctor, was appointed earlier this May by the World Bank Group as the Global Director of Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) and Director, Global Financing Facility (GFF), in Washington DC. At about the same time, he was also appointed by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health as Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership in the Department of Global Health and Population.
Both appointments are effective from July 1, 2019. However, the Harvard T. H. Chan School said Dr. Pate will be on leave while he serves as the Global Director for HNP and GFF.
In his new position with the World Bank Group, Ali Pate will lead, develop and communicate the vision and strategic direction of the HNP and the GFF, as well as the linkages to the Human Capital Project; ensure that global priorities are effectively integrated into country programmes; oversee the delivery of high-quality global engagements; and work closely with the HNP practice affiliated regional directors. He will effectively oversee strategic staffing and talent management for
staff in the HNP practice and the GFF to deploy and create knowledge and solutions.
Established in 2015, the GFF’s goal is to end preventable maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent deaths and improve the health and quality of life of women, children, and adolescents. The GFF is a new model of development financing for the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that helps governments to prioritize critical health and nutrition areas and brings together multiple financing sources to close the funding gap for reproductive, maternal newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH-N) by 2030.
The GFF monetary arm, which is the GFF Trust Fund, provides part of the financing countries need for their investment in RMNCAH-N and it is linked to funding from the International Development Association (IDA) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). In 2018, donors, including the Gates Foundation, the European Commission, Norway, Japan, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, pledged over $1 billion for the GFF.
According to the World Bank, Pate was selected to the position through the bank-wide competitive managerial selection process. He had previously worked with the World Bank: he joined the bank as a young professional in 2000 and worked on health issues such HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in several regions including Africa and the East Asia and Pacific.
Until recently, he was the chief executive officer of Big Win Philanthropy — a UK-based organisation that invests in children and young adults in developing countries – to improve their living standard and maximise demographic dividends for economic growth.
Prior to Pate’s appointment as Nigeria’s minister of state for health in 2011, he had successfully served as the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). In 2013, he resigned as minister to join the Duke University’s Global Health Institute, where he served as a visiting professor and taught comparative health systems to postgraduate
At NPHCDA, Pate introduced various reforms that dramatically increased immunisation coverage in Northern Nigeria. In two years, incidences of the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) fell to only 11 cases from a staggering figure of 803 in the country. He also led the reform that increased the pool of skilled birth attendants and improved delivery of services, helping to reduce high maternal and child mortality and morbidity.
Ali Pate studied at the Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. He obtained his Master of Science in health systems management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropic Medicine, and his Master of Business Administration with a Certificate in Health Sector Management from Duke