ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday stressed that Pakistan remained committed to ending all forms of polio in the country, ARY News reported.
According to a press release issued by PM Office Media Wing, the prime minister made these remarks during a telephone call with Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Bill Gates.
PM Shehbaz appreciated the valuable support extended by the BMGF to Pakistan in polio eradication and improving immunisation, nutrition and financial inclusion, particularly during the recent floods.
He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to further strengthen the fruitful partnership with the Foundation in all the ongoing areas of cooperation.
While expressing concern over reporting of new cases in 2022 after one year without any polio case, he noted that there had been a pause in polio cases since September 2022.
In light of the last year’s devastating floods, which had adversely affected the ongoing polio vaccination efforts due to large-scale displacements and destruction of healthcare infrastructure, the prime minister emphasized that the government was actively implementing the special emergency response plan and would continue to find and adopt ways to reach out to children in such times.
He apprised Gates of the efforts of the federal minister for national health services and his team to eradicate polio from the country and appreciated those efforts.
Both sides also discussed other government-led programmes, supported by the BMGF, to address malnutrition and stunting, essential immunization services, micropayment gateway RAAST, and digitalization of the National Savings Programme.
Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate polio, while reiterating his Foundation’s continued support to Pakistan in its aim to ensure that no child would be at risk of paralysis due to poliovirus.
Both sides agreed to continue working together on the shared objectives.