Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday held a telephone conversation with Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and exchanged views on the Covid-19 situation and efforts for polio eradication in the country.
Our PM conversed about Pakistan’s policy to control and reduce the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on health and economy and enlightened Gates of the country’s taken to measure and their implementation through ‘smart lockdowns’ aimed at saving people from dying from the virus and hunger.
Noting the surge in COVID-19 cases, the PM highlighted that the implementation of SOPs is more challenging during the second wave. He also commended the Gates Foundation’s strong ‘advocacy for the provision of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all developing countries’.
“The Prime Minister acknowledged the Gates foundation’s continued support of the Ehsaas Program, which would help the most vulnerable segments of Pakistan’s population benefit from its expertise in health, nutrition, and financial inclusion,” a statement by the PM Office said.
He underlined that the government had put together an $ 8 billion package to support the affected people and businesses. The steps taken by the government had helped in containing the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan. The prime minister’s call for “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for the developing countries was in the same context.
Bill Gates mentioned how COVID-19 was a threat across the world. He commended Pakistan’s efforts in protecting the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable populations.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Bill Gates also discussed their shared priority of polio eradication. They discussed the important role that Pakistan’s polio staff and infrastructure were playing in the fight against COVID-19.
The polio teams were supporting the training of front-line polio health workers on COVID-19, and using contact tracing, testing, and communications methods to curb transmission.
In the context of the pandemic, they also discussed that routine immunization programs for children especially polio vaccination could not be ignored, as well as, the need for capacity enhancement of the National Institute of Health.