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21 January 2013
GENEVA – Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced today that Osamu Kunii, a global health expert who is known as an innovative manager, will head the organization’s Strategy, Investment and Impact division.
As a senior manager at the Global Fund, Dr. Kunii will direct a staff of medical experts, strategists and planning staff, as well as specialists who measure the impact of Global Fund investments.
Dr. Kunii has more than 25 years of experience in global health and development, and a significant track record at developing strategies and building partnerships across disciplines. He is currently Chief of Child Survival and Development in UNICEF’s Somalia Support Center, based in Nairobi, Kenya, where he leads an interdisciplinary team of experts on health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene to reduce child mortality in Somalia, one of the world’s most challenging places for conflict and drought.
“Osamu is a brilliant innovator,” said Dr. Dybul, who began today as Executive Director of the Global Fund. “He has an incredible combination of technical knowledge, creativity, managerial skill, and experience at developing strategies and building partnerships. He makes the Global Fund even stronger.”
Born and raised in Japan, Dr. Kunii earned a PhD in epidemiology at the University of Tokyo and a Master of Public Health at Harvard University. He has a medical degree from Jichi Medical University in Japan.
Dr. Kunii has extensive experience in developing global, regional and national level policy and strategy. He developed and planned a child survival strategy as senior advisor of health strategy at UNICEF headquarters in New York. He also worked on UNICEF’s pandemic influenza contingency plan in South Asia, and has been involved in drawing up national health plans and strategies for malaria, HIV, immunization, reproductive, maternal and child health in many countries.
Dr. Kunii also has a wide range of experience in planning, implementing and evaluating programs and projects for infectious diseases control, maternal and child health, primary health care, and health systems strengthening in many countries including Myanmar, Afghanistan, Brazil, Iraq, Occupied Palestinian Territory and Mozambique.
Dr. Kunii served as a professor of global health at Nagasaki University Research Institute of Tropical Medicine as well as Deputy Director of Center of International Collaborative Research, Nagasaki University, and led research projects at other institutes as well. He has conducted and supervised research in infectious diseases outbreak and health consequences among people affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami, malnutrition and respiratory problems among children in Kazakhstan, International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood in Tibet, adverse health effects of traditional practices among Congolese refugee children in Tanzania, and others.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Kunii served as Deputy Director of Aid Planning Division and special policy advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to develop and implement the government’s policy and strategy of official development assistance in the health sector. He supervised the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative announced at the 2000 G8 Okinawa Summit, when more than US$4 billion was contributed to the fight against HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in the world. Under this initiative, he assisted the Government of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency in promoting partnerships with civil society, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academia, United Nations agencies, and donors such as USAID and the UK’s Department for International Development. He has also worked on global efforts to accelerate health-related Millennium Development Goals.
Throughout his career, Dr. Kunii has voluntarily served and advised countless non-governmental and non-profit organizations, public and community health organizations, and professional associations. He has also served on multiple advisory boards.
Immediately after the onset of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, Dr. Kunii voluntarily worked for 2 months in the affected areas as the field manager for the emergency response by the Japan Committee for UNICEF and as a health advisor to the affected Miyagi Prefectural government.
When he was still a medical resident and clinician, he co-founded and helped lead the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia, currently the largest medical emergency relief non-governmental organization in Japan with branches in 29 countries and serving over 50 countries. He also founded a non-governmental organization called the Tochigi International Lifeline with his network of medical and legal experts, an insurance company, translators and other volunteers, through which many overseas workers in Japan coming from the developing countries were assisted in seeking and receiving medical and mental care when they had communication, financial and cultural problems.
Based on these achievements, Dr. Kunii was among those selected as an Outstanding Young Person, alongside the first Japanese female astronaut, by the Japan Junior Chamber in 1995.
Dr. Kunii is also known as a master of yoga, karaoke and dance.
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