In phone conversation, Gen. Bajwa says this is a national cause and effort
Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates on Thursday pledged to continue working together to eradicate polio from Pakistan and improve the health of all children.
According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the two men discussed Pakistan’s COVID-19 response, as well as the resumption of polio vaccination campaigns. “Gates conveyed his appreciation for Pakistan Army for supporting national polio drive and ensuring proper reach and coverage of polio campaigns this year, particularly through involvement of community leaders and influencers,” it said, adding that Gen. Bajwa had stressed that this was a truly national cause and effort.
“We will call it a success when no child is affected in Pakistan,” the statement cited Bajwa as saying. He credited the grassroots workers, including the mobile teams, law enforcement agencies, and health representatives, for helping combat the scourge of the poliovirus.
Both men, read the statement, also discussed the safe resumption of, as well as efforts needed to effectively conduct polio campaigns, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It said that Gates had specifically acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in managing the pandemic despite the current rise in COVID-19 cases, and had also hailed efforts to safely conduct polio immunization campaigns and essential immunizations during the crisis.
“Both also pledged to continue working together to make further progress in ending polio in Pakistan and improving the health of all children,” it added.
Pakistan is one of only two countries, with Afghanistan, where the poliovirus remains endemic. As of Nov. 12, there have been 81 documented cases in Pakistan thus far this year.