PM Shehbaz, Bill Gates discuss health, digital economy, and climate initiatives

Bill Gates and Shehbaz Sharif meeting

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with Bill Gates, head of the Gates Foundation, today at the PM House in Islamabad. Gates is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of the PM Shehbaz, which was extended during their meeting at this year’s World Economic Forum in Riyadh.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister briefed Gates on the significant progress made in digital financial services to achieve economic stability, improvements in healthcare access, climate change adaptation efforts, and the government’s initiatives towards eradicating polio.

The Prime Minister appreciated the Gates Foundation’s valuable support in Pakistan’s efforts to digitise the economy. He highlighted that the development of a digitised ecosystem across the governmental structure would enhance revenue generation, improve governance, and enable the government to allocate more funds to public welfare schemes.

Prime Minister Shehbaz highlighted the shared goals between the government of Pakistan and the Gates Foundation, which include closing the gender gap, increasing access to healthcare, enhancing food security, climate change adaptation, and financial inclusion. He informed Gates about the progress and challenges in these sectors.

Expressing gratitude to the Gates Foundation for being the largest donor to the polio eradication program, the Prime Minister outlined a robust and focused strategy to tackle the rising threats of polio infections and the necessary measures to completely eliminate the disease from Pakistan.

He reiterated the government’s firm commitment to polio eradication, stating that it remains a top priority. He assured that all state resources would be utilised to ensure the safety of polio workers and pledged to personally oversee the national efforts until polio is entirely eradicated from the country.

Gates thanked the Prime Minister for his persistent dedication and personal interest in polio eradication. He expressed confidence that with continuous vaccination efforts and the government’s resolute commitment, the campaign against polio would see significant improvements.

Gates also highlighted the importance of data science tools and digital technology as key resources for improving the lives of Pakistanis.

Both parties agreed to continue their collaboration not only in eradicating polio but also in strengthening the healthcare system across all provinces and ensuring the welfare and prosperity of all Pakistanis, especially women.

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