Bill Gates acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts to contain pandemic during phone conversation with prime minister
Underscoring the government’s commitment to contain the second wave of the novel coronavirus through the same efforts it had employed in the first, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday admitted that implementation of SOPs was proving more challenging this time.
Speaking with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates via telephone, Khan noted that there had been a surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks. “The prime minister shared Pakistan’s policy to control and mitigate the deleterious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and economy,” read a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office. “He apprised Gates of Pakistan’s national coordinated efforts, being implemented through ‘smart lockdowns’ aimed at saving people from dying from the virus and hunger,” it added.
During the telephone call, the prime minister acknowledged the Gates Foundation’s ongoing support for the Ehsaas Program, saying it would help ensure the health, nutrition and financial inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of Pakistan’s population. “The prime minister commended the Gates Foundation’s strong advocacy for the provision of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all developing countries,” read the statement.
Khan and Gates also discussed Pakistan’s ongoing fight against the poliovirus—with Afghanistan, it is now only one of two countries where the disease is still endemic—with the prime minister reaffirming that its eradication remained a key priority of the government. “While thanking the Gates Foundation for its critical support in building Pakistan’s emergency management capacity for Polio eradication, the prime minister highlighted that anti-polio campaigns were being intensified across the country,” read the statement.
Khan also stressed that Special Assistant on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan and his team would continue to collaborate with the Gates Foundation for the eradication of polio.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while stimulating economic growth. He also agreed with Khan to continue working together on the shared objectives of eradicating polio and combating the pandemic.