ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephone conversation with Mr Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday. Both exchanged views on the COVID-19 situation and Polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister shared Pakistan’s policy to control and mitigate the deleterious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and economy. He apprised Mr Gates of Pakistan’s national coordinated efforts, being implemented through ‘smart lockdowns’ aimed at saving people from dying from the virus and hunger. Noting the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Prime Minister underscored the government’s commitment to combat the second wave through similar interventions. He, however, noted that implementation of SOPs is more challenging this time.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the Gates Foundation’s continued support of the Ehsaas Programme, which would help the most vulnerable segments of Pakistan’s population benefit from its expertise in health, nutrition and financial inclusion. The Prime Minister commended the Gates Foundation’s strong advocacy for the provision of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all developing countries.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed that eradication of polio remained a key priority of the government. While thanking the Gates Foundation for its critical support in building Pakistan’s emergency management capacity for Polio eradication, the Prime Minister highlighted that anti-polio campaigns were being intensified across the country. He added that SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and his team would continue to collaborate with his Foundation for eradication of Polio.
Bill Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while stimulating economic growth. The Prime Minister and Mr. Gates agreed to continue working together on the shared objectives of eradicating Polio and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.