General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), had a telephone conversation on Wednesday.
The call was against the backdrop of polio eradication drive in Pakistan. Bill Gates appreciated Pakistan Army’s help in enabling the campaign through provision of security, monitoring and bridging of capacity gaps. The COAS said it’s a national duty and the army played a part in the significant initiatives undertaken by the Government of Pakistan and health care departments of provinces. The healthcare workers who played the most important part in polio drive also acted as the frontline defence against Covid-19. The COAS said that despite Covid-19, the Pakistan Army in support of the government’s efforts has already made preparations to restart the anti-polio campaign in coming weeks.
The two sides discussed challenges in the face of current and future pandemic threats and efforts to enhance the resilience of population through education, flexible healthcare management and use of technology. The COAS thanked Bill Gates for his Foundation’s efforts towards the noble cause and said that every initiative aimed at betterment of Pakistan and its people will be fully supported and appreciated.