Muhammad Ali Pate is a physician and former politician, and Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to this he was the the Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group and Director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents. After graduating from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) medical school in Kaduna State, Nigeria. he moved to Gambia, where he worked in rural hospitals for a time. Thereafter, he completed his residency at the University of Rochester in the USA. Dr Pate is certified by the American Board as a MD in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and also has an MBA in Health Sector Concentration from Duke University in the USA. Previously, he also studied at University College London and has a Masters Degree in Health System Management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
In 2008 he was appointed Head of the National Primary Health Care Agency (NPHCDA), a post he held until 2011. At that time there was a polio epidemic in Nigeria and, during his time in office, he instigated a policy whereby respected leaders in relevant areas helped encourage immunisation; cases of wild poliomyelitis decreased from 803 at the end of 2008, to just 11 in 2010.
When the NPHCDA merged with the National Programme on Immunisation (NPI), Muhammad Ali 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. Further, he also developed the Midwives’ Service Scheme (MSS), to address the national high maternal and child morbidity and mortality rate in Nigeria, in order that those in rural and outlying areas receive the help they need.
In 2011 he was appointed as Minister of Health in Nigeria, following his success as Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Abuja. In July 2013 he resigned from his ministerial post to become Professor at Duke University Global Health Institute in the USA.
In 2012 he was awarded Harvard Health Leader by the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program.
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 of long term, economic growth in their particular regions.
In 2016 he also gave a course, ‘Leadership Development in Global Health: Building Community Trust Networks’ in his additional role as a Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In 2019, he was appointed Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
He has served on various national and international panels, including the First WHO Health Systems Research Forum, 2009, in Montreux, Switzerland; Mckinsey’s Geneva Health Forum 2009, in Switzerland; Ernst Strungman Forum, 2010, in Frankfurt, Germany; China-Africa Roundtable for Health, 2010; Pacific Summit, 2011, in Seattle, WA, USA. Since 2017 he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American International Health Alliance, Additionally he is member of the following: Board for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Steering Committee on Assessment of Impact of Polio Eradication on Routine Immunisation, for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Advisory Board of Merck for Mothers; the Steering Committee for Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI); Board of the Private Health Sector Alliance of Nigeria.