Dr. Hamid Jafari is the Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean Region. He leads polio eradication efforts, in close collaboration with other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), in 22 Regional Member States that include Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two remaining polio endemic countries globally.
Until August 2019, Dr. Jafari served as the Principal Deputy Director, Center for Global Health, at the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). He worked closely with CDC leadership to ensure CDC’s assets are aligned to its global health priorities and the agency’s impact is optimized. He liaised and partnered with senior officials in US government agencies, partner organizations and other governments. He played a key leadership role in establishing and accelerating Joint External Evaluations (JEEs) to objectively assess country capacities to meet International Health Regulations.
From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Jafari was the Director of Global Polio Eradication Operations and Research at World Health Organization Headquarters, Geneva and the overall leader of the GPEI. Strong global progress under his leadership led to cessation of poliovirus outbreaks in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea and interruption of wild poliovirus transmission in all of Africa except northeastern Nigeria. He led the international planning and coordination of the global withdrawal of trivalent OPV and introduction of bivalent OPV and IPV in EPI.
Dr. Jafari served as the Project Manager of World Health Organization’s National Polio Surveillance Project in India (2007-2012). As Project Manager of NPSP, he was the main technical advisor to the Government of India in the implementation of the nation’s large-scale polio eradication effort, measles control and routine immunization activities and directed WHO’s extensive network of more than 2000 field staff.
Dr. Jafari served as the Director of Global Immunization Division at CDC from 2004-06 and provided strong leadership to the global immunization and polio eradication efforts.
He served as the Medical Officer for Polio Eradication in the Regional Office of WHO for Eastern Mediterranean in Egypt on assignment from CDC from 1996-2002. Dr. Jafari mobilized resources and guided countries and partner agencies in establishing and effectively implementing polio eradication programs in countries of the Middle East, North Africa, Horn of Africa and in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.
Dr. Jafari is a graduate of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) program, Class of 1992. He obtained his MBBS degree from Sind Medical College, Karachi University. He completed his residency training in Pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and his Pediatric Infectious Disease fellowship at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Dr. Jafari completed a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jafari has published more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters on pathogenesis of infectious diseases, polio eradication and other vaccine-preventable diseases and global health security.