KARACHI–In a letter sent to Imran Khan, Bill Gates commended the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman on his commitment to the eradication of the polio virus in Pakistan. The co-founder of Microsoft also expressed an interest in introducing mapping technology to the country in order to help combat polio.
Gates emphasised the importance of framing the issue of polio as a humanitarian rather than a political one, and was pleased by the display of unity from the army and different levels of government on the ‘Sehat Ka Ittehad’ campaign.
In his letter, Gates said, “It is encouraging to see the Army, federal, and provincial governments working together under your banner ‘United for Health’. This initiative is key to interrupting transmission, and it highlights how polio is truly a humanitarian priority above political and partisan differences.”
He recognised the use of mapping technology may be controversial – “I know there are sensitivities around this type of technology” – but also pointed out that it had helped nearly eradicate the virus in Nigeria.
Gates also mentioned that talks with the Chief Secretary and Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) regarding the injectable polio vaccination (IPV) campaign could help revitalise campaign efforts and may serve to revive the practice of monthly and quarterly review meetings.