Bill Gates meets Senator Ayesha Raza to discuss polio-free world

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APP07-15 ATLANTA: June 15 - Bill Gates and Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Prime Minister's Focal Person for Polio Eradication meeting to discuss global polio eradication effort in Atlanta USA. APP

ISLAMABAD, Jun 15 (APP): Founder of Microsoft and Co-chair of
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates met with the Prime
Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza
Farooq to discuss global progress on eradicating polio.
Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, who currently on a visit to
Atlanta in connection with Global Forum on Polio Eradication, during
meeting with Bill Gates expressed her gratitude for his support to
this noble cause of safeguarding humanity from the clutches of a
crippling disease.
Senator Ayesha expressed satisfaction that international
governments and organization pledged 1.2 billion US dollars for the
Global Polio Eradication effort which is critical to sustaining the
world’s largest public health programme in countries affected by the
disease, says a fax message received here from Atlanta.
She apprised Bill Gates of the measures taken by Pakistan to
stop transmission of poliovirus. “With resolute commitment of the
country’s highest leadership we have been able to effect major
turnaround in the polio situation.”
She added insecurity and inaccessibility were the major
challenges which have been tackled through political will,
determination and innovation.
“Despite dropping to two cases from 306 we continue to forge
ahead with the same zeal as our ultimate aim is to reach zero case
and sustain it.”
Bill Gates said today 16 million people are walking who would
have been paralyzed if they had not been protected against polio
thanks to the extraordinary efforts of public health workers.
This new injection of funding and commitment will ensure that
in the future, no child will ever again suffer from the consequences
of this incurable, but preventable disease, he added.
While polio continues to exist anywhere in the world, children
everywhere remain at risk. Each year, the GPEI reaches 450 million
children to vaccinate them against the virus, in polio endemic
countries and elsewhere, and maintains disease surveillance systems
in more than 70 countries to find and stop every last virus, he
said.
“We’ve gone from 40 cases an hour back in 1988 to just 40
cases in all of 2016. But if we stop now and don’t get to zero,
experts say that within a decade there would be 200,000 new cases of
polio every year,” bill Gates said.
He added what’s so impressive about the polio programme is that
through persistence and innovation, it has risen to the challenge,
again and again.
It is this talent for generating new ideas, building on
lessons learned, and adapting to new circumstances that makes me
optimistic we will get to zero, said Bill Gates.
The importance of routine immunization was also discussed at
length during the meeting with Senator Ayesha sharing efforts to
upscale routine immunization against nine preventable diseases in
Pakistan.