Shehbaz, Gates commit to eradicating polio

PM says federal, provincial governments resolve to control the menace

APP June 25, 2024


Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday reiterated the government’s resolve to eradicate the menace of polio from the country during a meeting of National Task Force on Polio Eradication attended by Bill Gates and officials of the Gates Foundation other than ministers, senior officials and relevant authorities.

The prime minister assured Bill Gates that the government was fully committed to continuing its efforts to protect the lives of children and make them healthier. Shehbaz Sharif also stressed that they would have to act swiftly to produce results in the coming days and months.

The prime minister said that the polio eradication campaign in the country was progressing positively and they were close to eradicate polio but unfortunately things turned negative as the virus returned back in certain parts of Pakistan. However, he asserted that it did not show that they had failed in their efforts.

All the newly formed federal and provincial governments had completely resolved that they would spare no efforts to control the menace, he added.

Recalling his meeting with Bill Gates in Riyadh on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF), the prime minister said that they had held comprehensive discussions on polio eradication and health-related issues of Pakistan. Lauding the Foundation’s efforts and donations for the polio eradication campaigns and for lifting of sufferings of humanity, he said that Pakistan had been a beneficiary of its financial support over malnutrition, and mother and child healthcare issues.

In the polio eradication campaigns, Gates’ cooperation and support had been consistent in the last many years to the tunes of millions of dollars, he added. The prime minister said that investment in the polio eradication programmes in Pakistan had been significant as it stood at $240 million in 2022, $263 million in 2023, and $297 million during the year.

Expressing gratitude to Bill Gates for support over the digitization of Federal Board of Revenue, Shehbaz Sharif said that there were other areas of cooperation between Pakistan and the Foundation, including the digitization of education and health sectors.

He also reassured that the government would utilize all its resources for polio eradication and he would hold regular meetings with the provincial governments and all the stakeholders in that regard. The prime minister also welcomed Bill Gates and his team to visit Pakistan on behalf of the people, the government and the provincial authorities.

Speaking on the occasion, Bill Gates said that they were committed in its efforts to eradicate polio from Pakistan and address other health related issues, including malnutrition, and mother and child health.


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