Renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates has lauded efforts made by Pakistan to combat the paralyzing disease of polio. He particularly praised Cricketer-turn-politician Imran Khan for his efforts to eradicate the infectious disease from the world’s sixth most populous country.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been actively engaged with health institutions in Pakistan to help fight the disease which has crippled hundreds of children in Pakistan which remains the only country along with Afghanistan and Nigeria where polio is still endemic. Militant violence is a major factor that has obstructed efforts to fight the fatal disease.
In a letter, dated March 13 and posted on twitter by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party, the co-founder of Microsoft said he was interested in the use of mapping technology which, he said, helped Nigeria get close to eliminating polio.
“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,” Gates said in the letter.
He praised Khan saying his direct engagement was essential in ensuring “polio-free future for all of the children in KP, FATA and Pakistan and your work will have global reach and recognition.
“I look forward to the day when you and I can celebrate the eradication of this terrible disease and the improved health of all the world’s children,” said Gates who along with his wife created one of the world’s largest charitable organization in 2000.
The Seattle-based foundation has its regional offices in Washington D.C., India, China and London. Its trustees are Bill, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Polio, which mainly affects children below five years of age, leads to irreversible paralysis and up to 10 percent of such children succumbed to the disease. From 350,000 cases in 1988, only 416 cases were reported in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.