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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Bill Gates urges Pakistan for renewed push to address challenges to polio eradication

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges continued support to new government for BISP, RAAST, Nashonuma programmes

By Web Desk
March 18, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) gestures in meeting with co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates on the sidelines of the 77th session of UNGA, New York, September 22, 2022. — PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) gestures in meeting with co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates on the sidelines of the 77th session of UNGA, New York, September 22, 2022. — PID

In a letter, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Bill Gates has congratulated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his election victory, and new government besides wishing for success in new rulers’ work to foster growth and prosperity of Pakistan.

“I want to reiterate the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's commitment to the Government of Pakistan and its people,” the philanthropist stated in his letter. “As you know, our foundation has long supported Pakistan's goal to eradicate polio, and I am grateful for your leadership on this issue.”

He added: “We’ve lost important ground in the past few months, and it will take a renewed push to address significant challenges, especially the security issues that prevent all children from being vaccinated.”

Pledging continued backing of his organisation to Islamabad, he said, “With your focused support, I believe Pakistan can become polio-free by the end of 2024, I would be extremely grateful if we could speak on the phone about this, at your earliest convenience.”

— Supplied
— Supplied

Besides polio eradication programme, the co-founder of software giant Microsoft said that his “foundation supports government priorities in primary health care, nutrition, and financial access. This includes our collaboration with the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), RAAST instant payments system, and the Nashonuma health and nutrition program, impacting families in 157 districts.

“Through Nashonuma, we're helping to support 770,000 women and babies to prevent malnutrition and stunting and hope to work with your government to expand its reach to 1.5 million people. Our work in support of RAAST has also seen a great success, with more than 30 million users signing up since 2021.”

“These are impressive strides forward. I hope we'll continue to build on our collaboration to have greater impact across Pakistan. Your leadership will be essential to ensure that our partnership grows in the years ahead. I look forward to continuing our work together to drive progress toward our shared hopes for Pakistan,” the American billionaire concluded.