Bill Gates announces aid for Pakistan's health sector

In a formal letter addressed to Saira Afzal Tarar, minister for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHS), billionaire Bill Gates has announced aid for polio eradication and health services in Pakistan.

He made this offer during a meeting with the minister in Abu Dhabi, where the duo discussed the prospects of a partnership in the health sector between the foundation and the Government of Pakistan.

An NHS official confirmed to the Express Tribune that, “New areas will be included in the new aid including mother and child health, innovations in health and reproductive health.” The official further confirmed that modalities are being discussed between both technical teams and are yet to be finalised.

“Details will be finalised in March, after taking into view the deliberations of the technical team,” said the official.

Karachi confirms its first polio case in over a year

In a letter, sent by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, dated December 5, 2017, confirmed that both sides had nominated their respective focal persons to carry forward the collaboration and finalise details; Dr Hassan Damluji was nominated to represent the interests of the foundation while Dr Assad Hafeez, Director General Health, was nominated by the Ministry of National Health Services.

A copy of the letter is available with Express Tribune.


In November 2017, the Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates expressed his commitment to continue supporting the polio effort in Pakistan and offered his support in areas of health innovation and strengthening mother and child care and reproductive health.

A wide range of areas in the health sector were discussed including Pakistan’s progress in polio eradication, mother and child health and innovations in health care, read a fax message received from Abu Dhabi.

Bill Gates lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for giving personal attention to the polio eradication effort and making it a success.

He appreciated the role the National Health Services (NHS) was playing in steering the polio effort and introducing major reforms in the health sector. Saira Tarar informed Bill Gates that Pakistan was monitoring heightened vigilance with the aim of simultaneously raising performance across the current hotspots where the virus is still circulating.

Garbage in Karachi keeping polio virus alive

“Our frontline workers were the backbone of our programme and supporting them on ground remains our key priority. Our armed forces continue to provide a safe and supportive environment for the conduct of campaigns,” Saira said.

She said that polio eradication in Pakistan enjoys broad based political support and was seen as a national imperative. This ensures sustainability of the initiative and the program will continue with a strong administrative base which was already supporting the program.

No case of polio has been registered since the past seven years in Rawalpindi

Parents urged to cooperate in campaign to help eradicate virus

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