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Imran Khan and Bill Gates discuss polio eradication efforts

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Bill Gates held a telephonic conversation to discuss polio eradication efforts and the Foundation’s support towards improving nutrition as well as financial services in Pakistan.

The prime minister updated Bill Gates on Pakistan’s continued progress against polio eradication and appreciated the invaluable assistance provided by the BMGF in that regard.

Imran Khan added that the Country has reported only one case of wild poliovirus (WPV) this year and positive WPV environmental samples have decreased substantially.

The prime minister emphasized that while the progress was positive, the work is still ongoing. He stressed that his government remains committed to ending all forms of polio in the Country.

Bill Gates praised the Prime Minister for the progress, and pledged the Foundation’s continued support to the Pakistan polio program for ensuring that no child in Pakistan is at risk of paralysis due to poliovirus.

Specifically, Bill Gates noted the positive impact of the prime minister’s leadership in convening a meeting with Deputy Commissioners in high-risk polio districts in August.

Both the Prime Minister and Mr. Gates expressed concern regarding the health system in Afghanistan, the only other country in the world that is polio-endemic along with Pakistan.

They discussed the importance of polio campaigns resuming in Afghanistan to stop the disease and protect Pakistan’s recent gains towards ending polio.

Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted that more than half of the population in Afghanistan was living below the poverty line and in dire need of financial assistance. He requested Bill Gates to consider providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

The Co-chair BMGF congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan for Pakistan’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and noted the Foundation’s continued support of govt-led programs including Ehsaas programe is making impressive progress in reducing stunting and the digitization of the National Savings Program through Karandaaz.

Bill Gates offered continued collaboration through the Gates Foundation to improve the health and well-being of Pakistanis.

The prime minister thanked him for his Foundation’s valuable partnership with Pakistan.

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