Microsoft co-founder and US billionaire Bill Gates met Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Thursday during his first-ever visit to Pakistan.
Sharing pictures of the meeting on Twitter, Senator Faisal Javed Khan said Gates “greatly appreciated steps [regarding polio eradication] in Pakistan, the National Command and Operation Centre’s (NCOC) performance in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic and initiatives such as the Ehsaas programme”.
PM Imran Khan also hosted a luncheon in Gates’ honour. The Prime Minister’s Office, which shared pictures from the luncheon, added that the Microsoft co-founder was visiting the country on the premier’s “special invitation”, according to English newspaper, Daily Dawn.
Earlier in the day, Gates met Planning and Development Minister and NCOC head Asad Umar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan.
In a statement, the NCOC said the philanthropist attended the forum’s morning session.
During his visit, Gates was briefed on NCOC’s role and methodology, its achievements since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the coronavirus situation in Pakistan as well as the non-pharmaceutical interventions by the forum to control the spread of the disease.
Gates and his delegation were also informed about genome sequencing and coronavirus variants detected in Pakistan, the statement added.
“Gates took keen interest on various initiatives by NCOC, particularly smart lockdown and micro-smart lockdown strategy enforcement measures and Pakistan’s vaccine administration regime which enabled NCOC to formulate and implement a comprehensive Covid response.”
During his visit to the NCOC, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation chairman also shared his views on the pandemic, especially the vaccination drive.
“Gates appreciated Pakistan’s success against Covid-19 despite resource constraints and introducing excellent initiatives and measures for public health safety,” according to the statement.
For his part, Planning Minister Umar credited “a true national response, executed through an effective communication campaign mechanism of the NCOC” for the success in dealing with the coronavirus.