Gen Bajwa, Bill Gates discuss anti-polio campaign, coronavirus crisis

RAWALPINDI: Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday held a telephonic conversation with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-founder Bill Gates in which the two discussed the coronavirus crisis and the resumption of the anti-polio campaign in Pakistan.

The foundation in December last year announced a $10 million aid for Pakistan to help eradicate the disease.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Gates appreciated the support extended by the Pakistan Army for “national polio drive, ensuring proper reach and coverage”.

Gen Bajwa said the campaign was a national cause and national efforts were being made for creating a polio-free Pakistan. “Credit goes to grassroots workers including mobile teams, Law Enforcement Agencies and healthcare representatives,” the army chief was quoted as saying.

The two also discussed the efforts needed to effectively conduct the polio campaign amidst the pandemic.

“Mr Gates also appreciated Pakistan’s success against COVID-19 despite resource constraints. COAS attributed the success to a true national response executed through the mechanism of NCOC which allowed optimisation of resources,” the military’s media wing said.

Gates also reiterated his organisation’s “ongoing commitment to fight pandemics around the world and to support Pakistan in its goals of ending polio and improving health for every child”.

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