ISLAMABAD, MAR 7 /DNA/ – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had a telephone call with Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) today.
The Prime Minister appreciated the valuable support extended by the BMGF to Pakistan in polio eradication and improving immunisation, nutrition and financial inclusion in the country particularly during the recent floods in the country. He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to further strengthen the fruitful partnership with the Foundation in all the ongoing areas of cooperation.
The Prime Minister stressed that Pakistan remained committed to ending all forms of polio in the country. While expressing concern over reporting of new cases in 2022 after one year without any Polio case, he noted that there has been a pause in polio cases since September 2022.
Both sides also discussed other government-led programs, supported by the BMGF, to address malnutrition and stunting, essential immunization services, micropayment gateway RAAST, and digitalization of the National Savings Programme.
In light of the last year devastating floods, which had adversely affected the ongoing polio vaccination efforts due to large scale displacements and destruction of healthcare infrastructure, the Prime Minister emphasized that the Government was actively implementing the special emergency response plan and will continue to adapt and find ways to reach out to children in these times.
Mr. Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate Polio, while reiterating his Foundation’s continued support to Pakistan in its aim to ensure that no child would be at risk of paralysis due to poliovirus.
Both sides agreed to continue working together on these shared objectives.