Bill Gates on Thursday appreciated Pakistan’s success against Covid-19 despite resources constraints and introducing excellent initiatives besides taking measures for public health safety. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) made these remarks during his visit to National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) here on Thursday. Bill Gates met Chairman NCOC Asad Umar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr Faisal Sultan. Later, Bill Gates along with his delegation attended NCOC session. Bill Gates and his delegation was apprised about NCOC role and methodology, achievements since start of pandemic, recent Covid-19 situation across Pakistan and various non-pharmaceutical interventions placed by NCOC to control disease spread and ensure public safety beside well being. A comprehensive review of Pakistan’s efforts against Covid-19 was presented to the visiting delegation. The visiting delegation was also briefed on genome sequencing (prevalence of various variants in the country). Bill Gates took keen interest on various initiatives by NCOC particularly smart lock down and micro smart lock down strategy enforcement measures. He also liked Pakistan’s vaccine administration regime which enabled NCOC to formulate and to implement a comprehensive Covid response. Bill Gates also shared his views on Covid-19 particularly vaccination drive. Asad Umar acknowledged efforts of Mr Bill Gates and his foundation to support Covid-19 initiatives in Pakistan. Asad Umar attributed the success of true national response, executed through an effective communication campaign mechanism of the NCOC, which helped build trust of masses on National COVID response and positive behavioural change to follow Covid protocols as outlined by NCOC. Meanwhile, Microsoft co-founder, and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Thursday termed Ehsaas “a state of the art program”. Bill Gates was speaking during a meeting held with the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Dr. Sania Nishtar during his first ever visit to Pakistan. Dr. Sania thanked him for his words of appreciation for Ehsaas and his support. Dr. Sania briefed him about Ehsaas and the focus on data, digitization and transparency as key drivers of all Ehsaas programmes. Ehsaas programmes and initiatives are end-to-end digitized, reducing human discretion and exploitation. Bill Gates was also briefed on governance reforms under Ehsaas and the Building and Rebuilding Institutions Initiative (BRI) of Ehsaas where changes have focused on a three-pronged approach around institutionalizing efficiency through digitization, embedding good governance, and minimizing financial and statutory risks. This initiative is aimed at introducing robust governance mechanisms that increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency as well as depoliticizing institutions involved in the delivery of Ehsaas. Secretary Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Ismat Tahira, Additional Secretary Captain (Rtd) Saeed Ahmed Nawaz and Additional Secretary Syed Moazzam were also present in the meeting. While in Pakistan, Bill Gates also met with Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Dr. Arif Alvi and visited the COVID-19 National Command and Operation Center (NCOC). Bill Gates, Co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was briefed on the success and the challenges of the Polio eradication programme in the country during his visit to National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) here on Thursday. Bill Gates, who was on his first visit to Pakistan also visited operations room and the 1166 Helpline. During the visit Gates expressed satisfaction over the quality and impact of the programme and reaffirmed his continued commitment to the fight against polio. “Pakistan has made considerable progress and to achieve desirable results it is pertinent to continue with the strategic and targeted approach in the coming months,” he stated. Dr Faisal Sultan, highlighted contributions of the federal and provincial governments, polio staff, and frontline health care workers for reaching eligible children during the routine vaccination campaigns in the country. “We are focused on building the capacity of district government led teams, especially in high-risk areas of South KP to provide leadership in identifying challenges, design, and implement corrective actions to reach the goal of Polo-free Pakistan,” he added. Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator NEOC, while providing over a programme overview, acknowledged the significant support of the government for the polio eradication efforts. He said all polio activities had been sustained under the government management and oversight at every level, with the full commitment of the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers. The programme continued to focus on designing high-quality case response campaigns to review and modify interventions for reaching children who were repeatedly missed and were in need to receive the vaccine to build immunity, he explained. Dr Shahzad also mentioned significant impact of recent synergies between the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and Polio Eradication Programme (PEI) during routine vaccination campaigns.