The Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist, and one of the world’s richest persons Bill Gates visited Pakistan over an invitation from the Prime Minister. He paid a one-day visit to the country on Thursday and discussed important matters of which Pakistan’s polio eradication campaign was of prime significance.

He had a detailed meeting with the government officials and a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Many senior officials attended the meeting including Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, Chief Minister KPK Mehmood Khan, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Abdul Qayyum Khan, provincial health ministers Azra Fazal and Ehsan Shah, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Khalid Khurshid, assistant of Prime Minister on Heath Dr. Faisal Sultan, and some representatives of international organizations. Moreover, deputy commissioners from all over Pakistan also joined the meeting virtually.

Prime Minister presented his gratitude over the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the eradication of poliovirus in the meeting. Bill Gates also appreciated the government for its outstanding efforts for the eradication of polio despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He also thanked Prime Minister for the invitation and the hospitality. The Prime Minister highlighted that the government is still determined to never let this disease overtake the children’s health.

During the meeting, the task force also paid tribute to the workers who lost their lives for the great cause of polio vaccines’ administration. They were 36 frontline workers and 14 law enforcement personnel according to the statement issued by the PM office. It further explained that Pakistan has successfully completed one year with no case of poliovirus. However, the polio campaigns at the national level have been launched in December 2021 and January 2022. It said that the government is committed to making Pakistan a polio-free country.

Bill Gates was also awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz by President Arif Alvi near the end of his visit. It was awarded to him to recognize and appreciate his efforts for the eradication of polio and other services of philanthropy for the Pakistani people. The ceremony was held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr that was attended by Ms. Samina Alvi, federal ministers, and other senior officials from the government.

Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has a huge role in the eradication of polio from Pakistan. Not just that, it is also helping Pakistan through other acts of philanthropy. The first visit of Bill Gates to Pakistan is a huge success for the current government.

Author

Ayesha Areej is a staff writer at The Academia Magazine

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