ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, during a telephone conversation with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates, discussed the Covid-19 situation and polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.

According to an official press release, the prime minister informed Mr. Gates about Pakistan’s policy to contain the pandemic and mitigate its deleterious impact on health and the economy. Mr. Khan spoke about Pakistan’s national coordinated efforts being implemented through ‘smart lockdowns’ to save people from dying from infection and hunger.

Noting the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the prime minister underscored his government’s commitment to combat the second wave of the pandemic through similar interventions. He, however, noted that the implementation of standard operating procedures(SOPs) was more challenging this time.

Prime Minister Khan acknowledged the Foundation’s continued support for the Ehsaas Programme, which would help the most vulnerable segments of Pakistan’s population to benefit from its expertise in health, nutrition, and financial inclusion.

The prime minister commended the Foundation’s strong advocacy for the provision of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Mr. Khan reaffirmed that eradication of polio remained a key priority of the government. While thanking the Foundation for its critical support in building Pakistan’s emergency management capacity for polio eradication, he said that anti-polio campaigns were being intensified across the country. Mr. Khan said that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and his team would continue to collaborate with the Foundation for the eradication of polio.

Mr. Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic while stimulating economic growth. The prime minister and Mr. Gates agreed to continue working together on the shared objectives of eradicating polio and combating the Covid-19 pandemic.