Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, came in Pakistan for a day-long visit, during which he visited President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and other key government officials. During his first visit to the country, Gates attended a meeting of the National Task Force for Polio Eradication, which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran. Imran expressed gratitude to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its ongoing assistance for Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts.
In his remarks, Gates thanked the prime minister for inviting him and for his kind hospitality. Despite the Covid-19 limits, he claimed, Pakistan “did magnificently” and continued with polio immunizations.
During the meeting, Imran reaffirmed the government’s commitment to polio eradication. He said that Afghanistan, as the principal source of polio in the country’s two neighboring provinces, needed immediate international assistance to prevent a humanitarian disaster, including a health emergency.
He went on to say that Pakistan was offering complete help to 40 million Afghans in need of basic necessities. He urged the deputy commissioners of areas bordering Afghanistan, notably the southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, to be on the lookout for the polio virus.
The committee had already been notified that Pakistan had accomplished one year of zero polio incidence. However, the virus was found in environmental samples from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan’s southern provinces.
Earlier, Bill Gates was informed on the government’s flagship Ehsaas programs, with an emphasis on data, digitalisation, and transparency as key drivers, during a separate discussion with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Senator Dr Sania Nishtar.
According to a second news release, Gates called Ehsaas a “state-of-the-art software.” Dr. Nishtar praised the dignitary for his admiration of Ehsaas and his support, according to the statement. Ehsaas programs and projects are fully digitized, which reduces human discretion and abuse.
According to a news release, Gates also visited the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and was briefed on the accomplishments and difficulties of the polio eradication operation. Dr Shahzad Baig, NEOC Coordinator, gave the visiting dignitary a full program review.
Gates was briefed about the Covid-19 and polio preventive efforts being implemented in the nation. Dr. Baig emphasized the considerable effect of recent synergies between the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and the Polio Eradication Programme during regular immunization campaigns.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan emphasized the efforts of the federal and provincial governments, polio professionals, and frontline health care workers in reaching eligible children throughout the country’s regular immunization programs.
“We are concentrating on improving the capacity of district government-led teams, particularly in high-risk regions of South KP [Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa], to offer leadership in recognizing difficulties, creating, and executing corrective measures to achieve the objective of polio-free Pakistan,” Dr Sultan said.
Gates was pleased with Pakistan’s polio eradication campaign. “Pakistan has made significant progress, and in order to achieve desired outcomes, it is critical to maintain the strategic and focused approach in the coming months,” Gates said.
Gates also met with Planning Minister Asad Umar, who runs the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the nerve center of the country’s campaign against the Covid-19 epidemic. The visiting dignitary and his delegation also attended the NCOC’s morning session.
He was informed about the NCOC’s function, methods, and successes from the onset of the pandemic, as well as the current pandemic scenario in the nation, including different non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) performed by the forum to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.
“A full evaluation of Pakistan’s activities against Covid-19 was delivered to the visiting party.” “The visiting team was also informed on genome sequencing – the prevalence of genetic variations in the nation,” according to an NCOC statement.
Umar praised Gates and his organization for their efforts to assist Covid-19 activities in Pakistan. Gates praised Pakistan’s victory against Covid-19 despite resource limits, as well as the introduction of strong programs and steps to ensure public health safety, according to the statement.
According to the statement, Gates was quite interested in the forum’s numerous projects, notably the smart lockdown and micro-smart lockdown strategies. He also expressed his thoughts on Covid-19, notably the vaccine push.
Later, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation paid a visit to Aiwan-e-Sadr and met with President Alvi. The president bestowed the honor of Hilal-e-Pakistan on Gates in appreciation of his exceptional efforts to the people of Pakistan, notably in the elimination of polio.