Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif had a telephonic Conversation with Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Bill Gates on Tuesday.
They discussed the ongoing public health and social sector programmes supported by BMGF in Pakistan.
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.
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 his Government 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 with that there has been a pause in polio cases since September this year.
In light of the recent flooding which has adversely affected the ongoing polio vaccination efforts due to large scale displacements and destruction of healthcare infrastructure, the Prime Minister reaffirmed that the Government is actively implementing the special emergency response plan and will continue to adapt and find ways to reach out to children in these challenging times.
Bill Gates deeply regretted the loss of lives in the recent flooding in Pakistan. He also acknowledged Pakistan's efforts to eradicate Polio and reiterated his Foundation's continued support to Pakistan for ensuring that no child is at risk of paralysis due to poliovirus.
Various other government-led programmes supported by the BMGF aimed at addressing malnutrition and stunting, essential immunisation services, micropayment gateway RAAST, and digitization of the National Savings Programme were also discussed.
The Prime Minister and Bill Gates agreed to continue working together on the shared objectives and in the areas of mutual cooperation.
In a phone call last night, Bill Gates & I discussed polio eradication challenges in our flood-hit areas. Government will continue to work with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure no child remains at risk of this deadly virus. I thanked Mr Gates for his consistent support.— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) December 14, 2022