Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephone conversation on Wednesday with Mr. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Views were exchanged 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 COVID-19. 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 Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) is more challenging this time.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the Gates Foundation’s continued support of the Ehsaas Programme, which aims to help the most vulnerable segments of Pakistan’s population through 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 Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan and his team would continue to collaborate with his Foundation for eradication of Polio.
Mr. Bill Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to combat COVID-19 while stimulating economic growth while
the Prime Minister and Mr. Gates agreed to continue working together on the shared objectives of eradicating Polio and combating the virus.