NEW YORK: Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates has reiterated the Foundation’s continuous support and partnership with Pakistan during this challenging time.
In his meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in New York, he affirmed that the Gates Foundation will continue its current support including the disaster relief efforts in flood-affected areas of Balochistan and Sindh.
Bill Gates expressed his concern for the people of Pakistan following the floods.
The Prime Minister and Bill Gates discussed the impact of the floods on immunization and maternal health services, and polio eradication in particular.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the need to prioritize maternal and newborn care in flood-affected areas and thanked Bill Gates for the Foundation’s support to Pakistan’s relief efforts thus far.
On polio eradication, they discussed that eradication efforts are facing a challenging situation because of the floods, especially after a recent rise in the number of wild polio cases.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed the government’s resolve to pursue the campaign relentlessly.
They agreed to continue their collaboration with polio partners to urgently reach vulnerable children with polio vaccines through the remainder of 2022 and prevent the disease re-establishing itself in Pakistan’s major cities.
Bill Gates thanked the Prime Minister for his continued prioritization of polio eradication.
The Prime Minister and Bill Gates also spoke of how the polio program is using its robust infrastructure to support the acute phase of the flood response, including deploying its surveillance system to monitor for malaria, dengue, and water-borne disease outbreaks as well as helping to deliver other life-saving vaccines to children.
The polio program, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is currently conducting 1,200 health camps in the worst flood-affected districts across Pakistan.
They also exchanged views on the need to continue their close partnership together to ensure Pakistan can continue to make progress on health and development including for enhancing agricultural resilience and rebuilding sustainable infrastructure that can withstand future climate shocks.
Earlier, The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres vowed to do everything possible to mobilize international support and assistance for the flood affected people in Pakistan.
He was talking to PM Shehbaz during a meeting on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The UN Chief said Pakistan deserves full and massive support from international community to deal with the aftermaths of the devastating floods.
The Prime Minister appreciated the Secretary-General’s timely visit and affirming strong solidarity with Pakistan in the wake of the climate-induced catastrophic floods.