Islamabad: Mr. Bill Gates, Chairman/ CEO of Microsoft Company rang up Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani about half an hour earlier to share his views on the Polio Eradication Programme in Pakistan.
While expressing his complete commitment and support for polio eradication, he expressed his concerns over difficulties in reaching out to the population in FATA where some polio cases have been reported and this area requires specific attention. He also mentioned about polio cases reported in Karachi, interior Sindh and Balochistan.
Mr. Bill Gates also asked about the status of Polio Eradication Programme (EPI) after the devolution of the Ministry of Health through the 18thConstitutional Amendment.
The Prime Minister apprised Mr. Bill Gates that his government is commitment and focused on EPI Programme and all aspects of the programme including its implementation would be ensured. He further said that he was personally overseeing the National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication. In this context he mentioned that he had chaired the first National Task Force meeting in which all the provincial leadership including FATA were present. They have been directed to supervise the implementation process at every level, he added
The Prime Minister also informed that this year 51 cases of polio in high risk areas have been reported for which appropriate measures have been undertaken. In all the high risk areas, he said, Surveillance Officers were being appointed for the first time for strengthening the implementation process. He further said that Polio Monitoring Cell has also been setup in my Secretariat which was providing regular updates to me.
The Prime Minister further informed that Ministry of Health was undergoing devolution soon, however, every measure was being taken to ensure a smooth transition period. The Federal government will provide budget for all programmes including EPI and Polio for the next four years, he added.
Mr. Bill Gates while inquiring about the Prime Minister’s expected visit to UN General Assembly in September this year, expressed the hope that they would be able to meet on the sidelines of the Un General Assembly session.
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