Anuradha Gupta joined the Sabin Vaccine Institute as President of Global Immunization in October 2022. A veteran public health leader, Anuradha has in her previous roles spearheaded a host of successful global initiatives to improve the health of women and children and harness the full power of vaccines. Her work has created profound impact at a global scale, saving and improving millions of lives.
Prior to Sabin, Anuradha spent several years at Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, as its deputy CEO. She is globally acclaimed for her efforts to center Gavi policies, programs, and partnerships around vaccine equity, gender and communities. She also pioneered the concept of zero-dose children – an idea that is both audacious and ambitious for its focus on children who have not received even a single dose of the most basic vaccines. The multi-dimensional impact and importance of reaching these children with vaccines and other essential services was widely embraced and zero-dose children are now front and center of the Global Immunization Agenda 2030 and incorporated into country programs. She was also the guiding force behind Gavi’s $500 million Equity Accelerator Fund which includes an innovative initiative aimed at reaching zero-dose children in conflict zones and drought-afflicted areas in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa.
Under Anuradha’s leadership, Gavi won many accolades and rolled out a new framework for a country-centric engagement strategy, moving away from a one-size fits all approach and building differentiated, transparent and accountable partnerships with remarkable success. During this period, a record number of vaccine introductions were achieved in low- and middle-income countries, the coverage of key Gavi funded vaccines became higher than that in the rest of the world and vaccine preventable child deaths declined. Those achievements contributed to Gavi receiving the prestigious Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award in 2019 for providing sustained access to childhood vaccines in the world’s poorest countries.
Anuradha’s leadership on gender equity led to Gavi becoming the first institution in global health to accomplish the Equal Salary Employer certification, ensuring women were recruited, remunerated, rewarded and recognized at par with men. She has worked tirelessly to shine the spotlight on gender barriers that impede access to vaccines and to craft creative and empathetic solutions in partnership with countries and communities.
Prior to Gavi, Anuradha served in the Indian Administrative Service (the IAS as it’s called is India’s preeminent civil service) and held leadership positions in a wide range of sectors including health, education, nutrition and finance. As Mission Director of the National Health Mission of India, she ran the largest – and possibly most complex – public health program in the world, with an annual budget of $3.5 billion. Under her leadership, India went from a country with half of the global polio burden to zero polio cases – the successful eradication of polio in India is still considered an exemplar for global health and a public health feat.
While in India, she pioneered the concept of the integrated Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (or RMCNH as it’s more commonly called) which shaped global discourse and initiatives including the World Bank’s Global Financing Facility. She was also the architect of a wide range of transformative initiatives that enabled free-of-cost access to health care for millions of women and children including family planning services, all resulting in an impressive reduction in maternal and child deaths as well as fertility rates in India.
Anuradha has contributed towards several important global health initiatives. She served as a member of the Steering Committee for Child Survival Call to Action, co-chaired the Stakeholder Group for the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning and was a member of the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Reference Group. Both these watershed initiatives brought renewed momentum to reducing child deaths and expanding access to family planning services. She also played a role in shaping the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and was a long-standing member of the GFF Investors Group. She was the co-chair and board member of the Partnership for Maternal Newborn Child Health (PMNCH), ensuring health of women and children remains an important priority under the Sustainable Development Goals. She was a founder member of the Equity Reference Group and played a pivotal role in advancing the equity agenda. As member of the Immunization Agenda 2030 Partners Council, she was a key influencer in shaping immunization goals and strategies. Anuradha also served on the Global Advisory Committee of the Merck for Mothers Initiative, leveraging her extensive experience to improve the quality of maternal care in countries with the highest maternal deaths.
A strong believer in life-long learning, Gupta holds an MBA from the University of Wollongong in Australia and received executive education from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. In 2015, she was named one of “300 Women Leaders in Global Health” by the Global Health Centre of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. She was profiled among the ten most influential women IAS officers in a recently released book.
In recognition of the enormous impact created by her work, in 2021, Anuradha received the University of Wollongong’s Alumni Award for Social Impact. As a testament to her ability to forge strong partnership with countries to save lives, she was conferred the highest civilian award for public service by the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Cross of Labour by the President of Laos for contributions to the health of the people in that country. She was most recently awarded the Advance Global Australian Award, another stellar recognition of the global impact of her many accomplishments.