PM appreciates Bill Gates for its support for Polio eradication from Pakistan

PM, Austrian Federal Chancellor discuss bilateral ties, regional situation including Afghanistan


Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated and thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its continued support and partnership with the Government of Pakistan in Polio eradication.

Talking to Co-Founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates during a one-on-one meeting in Islamabad today (Thursday), the Prime Minister underlined that the Government is fully committed and determined toward polio eradication.

Bill Gates is visiting Pakistan for the first time to attend the meeting of the National Task Force for Polio Eradication on the special invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Imran Khan said Afghanistan being the primary source of Polio incidence in our two bordering provinces requires urgent international support to avert humanitarian crises including health emergencies. He said Pakistan is providing full support for the sake of 40 million Afghan people in need of basic amenities.

Thanking the Prime Minister for the invitation and warm hospitality on his first-ever visit to Pakistan, Bill Gates highly appreciated the efforts of the leadership, health workers, and parents for working tirelessly to ensure that polio never paralyzes a child again.

He said despite COVID-19 restrictions, Pakistan has performed amazingly and has continued with polio vaccinations.

During the meeting, the National Task Force on Polio Eradication paid tributes to the 36 frontline workers and 14 law enforcement personnel who lost their lives during polio vaccination to the children across Pakistan.

The Prime Minister directed Deputy Commissioners of the districts adjoining Afghanistan borders, particularly Southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to remain vigilant and proactive against contamination of poliovirus.

Earlier, the Task Force was briefed that Pakistan has completed one year of zero polio incidence. However, the virus has been detected in environmental samples in the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan province.

The meeting was apprised that national level Polio vaccination campaigns have been launched in December last year and January this year with the integration of routine immunizations for children. There is effective coordination among Federal and Provincial Governments with support from Law enforcements agencies for the provision of security in risk areas.

Provincial Governments apprised the meeting about resources allocated towards the polio campaign and expressed full commitment towards making Pakistan polio-free.

Prime Minister also hosted a luncheon in honor of Bill Gates. Earlier, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Thursday. Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephone call with Austrian Federal Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, today [Thursday]. The conversation focused on a review of bilateral ties, the situation in Afghanistan, and peace and stability in the region.

Stressing the importance of economic dimensions of Pakistan-Austria relations, the Prime Minister appreciated Austrian investments and commercial collaboration with Pakistan.

He emphasized the need to further expand and deepen bilateral ties in diverse sectors including higher education, renewable energy, Information Technology, and Tourism.

The Prime Minister stated that Pakistan-Austria Fachhochschule-institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is an exemplary manifestation of bilateral partnership and desired enhanced collaboration in the field of higher education.

The two leaders also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister stressed that the international community must take urgent steps toward addressing the humanitarian crisis and preventing an economic collapse in Afghanistan.

He also highlighted the need for practical engagement to help realize the goals Of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

The Chancellor thanked the Prime Minister for efficient handling of the situation and evacuation of Austrians and others. He also agreed on further deepening economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Prime Minister extended an invitation to the Federal Chancellor to visit Pakistan.

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