Pakistan PM Urges Billionaire Bill Gates to Provide Humanitarian Assistance


    Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to consider providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, which is in dire need of financial aid since the Taliban seized power in August. Khan spoke with Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), on Tuesday, to discuss polio eradication efforts and the Foundation’s support towards improving nutrition as well as financial services in Pakistan, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

    The Prime Minister highlighted that more than half of the population in Afghanistan was living below the poverty line and in dire need of financial assistance. He requested Mr. Gates to consider providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, according to the statement.

    The two expressed concern regarding the health system in Afghanistan, the only other country in the world that is polio endemic along with Pakistan, it said.

    They discussed the importance of polio campaigns resuming in Afghanistan to stop the disease and protect Pakistan’s recent gains towards ending polio. Prime Minister Khan also updated Gates on Pakistan’s continued progress against polio eradication and appreciated the invaluable assistance provided by BMGF towards that.

    Khan said that the country has reported only one case of wild poliovirus (WPV) this year and positive WPV environmental samples have decreased substantially.

    Khan emphasised that while the progress was positive, the work is still ongoing and that his government was committed to ending all forms of polio in the country.

    Attempts to eradicate the crippling disease have been seriously hampered by deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years by militants, who oppose the drives, claiming that the polio drops cause infertility.

    Gates pledged the Foundation’s continued support to the country’s polio programme for ensuring that no child in Pakistan is at risk of paralysis due to poliovirus.

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