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Caretaker PM Kakar Reaffirms Pakistan’s Commitment to Polio Eradication in Call with Bill Gates

Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has given assurance to Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), that Pakistan is committed to achieving a healthier future. During a phone call received by the prime minister while on an official visit to the United Arab Emirates, discussions centered around the progress in eradicating polio from Pakistan.

The BMGF is a key supporter of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and has been actively involved in implementing and funding emergency plans in Pakistan to enhance the accountability and quality of polio vaccination campaigns.

kakar gates

The prime minister, who had previously met Gates in New York during the UN General Assembly session in September, expressed appreciation for the Gates Foundation’s support in the government’s efforts to make Pakistan polio-free. Kakar updated Gates on the ongoing polio vaccination drive across the country and also addressed issues related to malnutrition and maternal health.

Highlighting the cooperation between the government and the BMGF, Kakar reassured Gates that Pakistan remains fully committed to delivering on the promise of a healthier, safer, and financially inclusive nation.

The discussion also touched upon the reported polio cases in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year.

Additionally, the prime minister informed Gates about the nationwide anti-polio campaign launched to administer vaccination drops to children under five years old.

The campaign involves dedicated teams in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan, aiming to reach millions of children with anti-polio drops through door-to-door efforts.

Polio Eradication Campaign Launches In Karachi; 2.585 Million Children Targeted For Vaccination

Earlier, the polio eradication campaign commenced in all seven districts of Karachi, aiming to vaccinate 2.585 million children against polio. Over 11,000 polio workers are assigned to carry out vaccinations for children under the age of 5, with a focus on achieving the target effectively.

A meeting chaired by Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Saleem Rajput reviewed the campaign’s arrangements and emphasized providing full security to the vaccination teams.

The urgency of the campaign was underscored by the recent reporting of two polio cases in Karachi in October. These cases marked the first instances outside the endemic region since January 2021.

The cases involved a 24-month-old child and a 31-month-old child, both from the UC Gujro of Karachi East. The virus isolated from these cases belonged to the YB3A cluster, detected in positive environmental samples from various parts of Karachi. This information was shared during the meeting, highlighting the importance of conducting vaccination campaigns promptly to curb the spread of polio.

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