Gates Foundation Task Force Visits Flooded Indian State

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently sent an eight member task force, led by the foundation’s country head Ashok Alexander, to the Indian state of Bihar, which has experienced significant flooding in many districts, PTI/Hindu reports (8/30). “With major rivers in spate, there is no let up in the overall flood situation in Bihar where 1.5 million people continue to reel under the deluge in 11 north Bihar districts,” according to PTI (8/30).

The task force met with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday and said they were “extremely impressed” with health sector efforts from the state government, the Times of India writes. After the meeting, Alexander said the foundation would continue to work with the state to prepare a plan of mutual cooperation in the health sector (Ahmad, 8/30). “It was a fruitful visit and we discussed health-related issues. We wanted to understand the situation first before deciding the area where the foundation could play a role,” Alexander said, PTI/Hindu reports (8/30).

The task force conducted their visit after Bill Gates, who visited India last month, said in a video-conference with Nitish that he would send a team to Bihar to explore ways to assist the state, according to the Times of India.  According to the Times of India, “Nitish had assured [Gates] that his government was fully committed to eliminating kala-azar [visceral leishmaniasis] and polio and was focusing intensively on public health issues like routine immunisation and maternal and new-born care and nutrition” (8/30).

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