Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has met with Prime Minster Imran Khan and other officials of the government during his one day visit to Pakistan to discuss both polio and Covid-19 vaccination efforts in the country, among other public health-related matters.
While in country, Bill Gates is scheduled to review progress on polio eradication, Covid-19 vaccinations, visit the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) and Ehsaas programs and meet with the President and provincial health leadership, as well as with the premier.
During his visit to the NCOC, Gates was briefed on Pakistan’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus, as well as genome sequencing of coronavirus variants being conducted in the country.
“Gates took keen interest on various initiatives by NCOC, particularly smart lockdown and micro-smart lockdown strategy enforcement measures and Pakistan’s vaccine administration regime which enabled NCOC to formulate and implement a comprehensive Covid response,” relayed a statement from the NCOC.
Bill Gates’ philanthropic organization ‘The Gates Foundation’ has been instrumental in the global fight to eradicate polio. A major donor of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), since 1988 Gates’ foundation has helped decrease the incidences of polio in children by 99 per cent.
PM Imran Khan and Gates discussed the persistent rates of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gates lauded the PM’s efforts towards eliminating the disease and pledged to continue supporting Pakistan in this endeavour. The two spoke also in December of last year in one of Imran Khan’s telephone conversations regarding the polio situation.
On January 27, Pakistan achieved a major milestone, reporting zero wild polio cases in the country for 12 months. Only four cases of wild polio were confirmed in Afghanistan in 2021. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an endemic disease eliminated when there have been no transmissions for three consecutive years.