Staff Reporter Islamabad
Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to consider providing humanitarian assistance to poverty-stricken people in Afghanistan.
In a telephonic conversation on Tuesday, the prime minister highlighted that more than half the population in the war-torn country was living below the poverty line and in dire need of financial assistance.
The two leaders shared their concerns regarding the health system in Afghanistan — the only other country in the world that is polio-endemic along with Pakistan, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Expressing their resolve to eradicate the infectious disease from both countries, they discussed the resumption of polio campaigns in Afghanistan to secure Pakistan’s recent gains in the elimination of the poliovirus.
The premier apprised Gates of Pakistan’s “continued progress” against polio eradication and appreciated the invaluable assistance provided by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in that regard.
He added that the country had reported only one case of wild poliovirus (WPV) this year and positive WPV environmental samples had decreased substantially. He stressed that his government remained committed to ending all forms of polio in the country.
Gates praised PM Imran for the progress and pledged his Foundation’s continued support to the Pakistan polio programme for ensuring that no child in Pakistan was at risk of paralysis due to poliovirus.
The tech billionaire also congratulated the prime minister for Pakistan’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and noted the Foundation’s support of government-led programmes, including Ehsaas, which was “making impressive progress in reducing stunting, and the digitisation of the National Savings Programme”.
He offered his continued collaboration through the Gates Foundation to improve the health and well-being of the people in Pakistan.
The prime minister thanked Gates for his Foundation’s valuable partnership with Pakistan.