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Excitement as Nigeria’s new health ministers assume duty

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There was a palpable excitement in Nigeria’s health sector as a renowned  global health expert, Prof Ali Muhammad Pate, and a US-based nephrologist, Dr. Tunji Alausa formerly assumed duties as the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare  and Minister of State respectively after being sworn in along with other ministers to run the affairs of government under President Tinubu’s administration.

Prof. Pate relinquished an appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, in July 2023 to take up the ministerial appointment in Nigeria.

Speaking at a reception held for the two ministers, Pate assured of his readiness to implement policies that would enhance the standard of the health sector and improve the lives of Nigerians.

He pledged to work with health actors, parastatals, hospitals, states and private sectors in improving the standard of healthcare, in order to stall oversea medical tourism.

Stakeholders have continued to commend President Tinubu on the choice of the two ministers who many believe are capable of resuscitating Nigeria’s battered health sector.

Prof. Pate is an internal medicine and infectious disease physician. He holds an MBA from Duke University in the United States. He also has a Masters degree  in Health System Management from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom.

He joined the World Bank Group as a Young Professional in 2000 and worked on health issues in several regions, including Africa and the East Asia and Pacific. In 2008, he was appointed the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Agency until 2011, when he was appointed the Minister of State for Health.

As the ED and CEO of the NPHCDA, he initiated a policy whereby leaders in relevant areas helped encourage immunisation; cases of wild poliomyelitis decreased from 803 at the end of 2008, to just 11 in 2010.

Pate was instrumental in setting out the transformation agenda to manage outstanding issues. He also implemented pioneering policies, such as training middle management for primary health care and the collaboration between public and private sectors through partnership. He also developed the Midwives’ Service Scheme to address the national high maternal and child morbidity and mortality rate in the country.

In 2012, he was awarded Harvard Health Leader by the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Programme for his contribution to healthcare in developing countries.

He resigned from his position as the Minister of State for Health in 2013 to take up the position of Professor at Duke University’s Global Health Institute, in the United States of America.

On May 2, 2014, he received the title of the Chigarin Misau, in recognition of his achievements and public service for Nigeria. The recognition also marks the birth of the Chigari Foundation that he founded. Chigari Foundation is a non-profit organisation, whose goal is to provide world-class leadership in engaging communities in Nigeria.

In 2015, he began a term of three years as Chief Executive Officer of Big Win Philanthropy, an independent foundation investing in children and young people in developing countries, helping them improve their lives and maximise opportunities for long-term, economic growth in their particular regions.

In May 2019, Pate was appointed the Global Director, Health, Nutrition, and Population Global Practice of the World Bank, and the Director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents, based in Washington DC.

While serving with the World Bank between 2019 and 2021, he led the Bank’s $18 billion COVID-19 global health response and represented the Bank on various boards, including those of Gavi, the Global Fund, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AID.

Dr. Tunji Alausa
Minster of State for Health and Social Welfare

The new Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, according to is a  board-certified Nephrologist and founder of the Kidney Care Center, a nephrology practice and dialysis care center and rapidly growing provider of boutique dialysis services across the United States.

Through his company, Alausa has created a national brand that focuses on optimal care for patients who have chronic kidney disease in underserved communities.

Alausa has also contributed tremendously to these communities by providing significant employment opportunities for various stakeholders. He has built a strong team of professionals across the United States who are committed to his vision and mission.

He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, between 1997 and 2001; where he was appointed Chief Medical Resident responsible for co-coordinating the training programmes of several interns and residents as well as an Attending Physician. Upon completing his tenure at CCH,

Dr. Alausa was appointed to the faculty of Rush University Medical School as an Assistant Professor before moving on to the prestigious Medical College of Wisconsin to pursue a specialist training in Nephrology and Hypertension from July 2002 and June 2004.

He had his Residency Training in Internal Medicine at the  Royal Bolton Hospital and University of Newcastle, both in the United Kingdom, from 1995 to 1997.

Dr. Alausa’s philanthropic spirit has earned him numerous awards and  honour for his charitable contributions and voluntary hours caring for those in need.

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