PM meets Bill Gates; urges sustained efforts by partners for polio-free Pakistan

RIYADH, Apr 29 (Alliance News): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday met the founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates, wherein he called for a sustained effort by all the partners to reach the ultimate goal of a polio-free Pakistan.

In the meeting held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Meeting here, the prime minister highlighted that Pakistan was working tirelessly to eradicate polio from the country, a PM Office press release said.

 

 

Earlier, both leaders had featured in a WEF high-level panel discussion titled “Redefining the Global Health Agenda.” The prime minister thanked Bill Gates for sending him a warm congratulatory letter upon his re-election.

Bill Gates recalled the immunization and polio vaccine program in Punjab province under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif as Chief Minister and emphasized replicating the same practice across the country to make the immunization program a success.

While fondly recalling their interactions during his previous tenure, the prime minister reaffirmed his commitment to continue working closely with Bill Gates to ensure a stronger partnership between Pakistan and the Gates Foundation.

He thanked the BMGF for its longstanding support for polio eradication in Pakistan. Bill Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts and said polio eradication was vital to protect future generations from this crippling disease.

In addition to polio, Prime Minister Shehbaz and Bill Gates also discussed progress on ongoing activities between Pakistan and the Foundation in the areas of immunization, nutrition, and financial inclusion.

The prime minister said that the Gates Foundation was a trusted partner in Pakistan’s socio-economic development and sought collaboration in other areas including IT, STEM education and disaster management.

Recalling Bill Gates’ visit to Pakistan in February 2022, the prime minister extended an invitation to him to visit Pakistan again at a time of his convenience.