Islamabad, 31 August 2023 (TDI): Women healthcare workers from Pakistan’s Polio Program virtually convened with Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday.

The purpose of this virtual meeting was to share perspectives and initiate the forthcoming phase of the ‘Female Frontline Worker Co-Design Initiative.’

Participants shared their involvement in this endeavor, designed to actively listen to and glean insights from female frontline workers, to address remaining obstacles to eradicating polio in Pakistan.

They additionally expressed their visions and aspirations for the future, envisioning a time when Pakistan would have successfully attained this national objective.

Dr. Nadeem Jan, the Minister of National Health Services Regulation & Coordination, conveyed the Government of Pakistan’s dedication to backing female polio health workers, which includes exploring potential career paths in a post-polio world.

“Polio health workers have served Pakistan with incomparable dedication. Whether braving extreme weather conditions or navigating volatile security situations, they have remained steadfast in their commitment,” Dr. Nadeem Jan said.

“It is our duty to not only appreciate their invaluable services but also ensure that this excellent workforce continues to contribute to the country after polio ends. This is why the new phase of the Female Frontline Workers Initiative is critical for us to build their capacities in different areas and ensure they have good job opportunities in the future,” he added.

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Melinda French Gates commended the advancement of the initiative and the program’s steadfast dedication to assisting female workers as they move into the next phase of their efforts.

“These women are the heart of the polio eradication program and ensuring their expertise and solutions are at the center of eradication efforts is critical,” she said.

While expressing her views she said,“This initiative will not only help ensure that every child can receive life-saving vaccines, but it will also give these women important skills and training to support other health efforts, and to pursue economic opportunities in the future.”

She further reiterated the foundation’s enduring pledge to eradicate polio in Pakistan and collaborate with the nation to enhance overall health and well-being on a broader scale.