Date: 31st May 2012
Assuring all help of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Wednesday told Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav that his organisation would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Uttar Pradesh government on various health and development related issues.
"As per the proposed terms of the MOU, to be signed within two months between the UP Government and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the latter shall provide technical, management and programme design support in the maternal, neonatal and child health, vaccination and other health and agriculture related programmes," a state spokesman said.
"The state government shall provide support as per sanctioned plans to achieve the objective and to scale up best approaches," he added.
Gates, who was in Lucknow on a day's visit, assured the UP chief minister of full support by the Foundation to develop innovative solution and provide catalytic, technical, managerial and advocacy support.
He also indicated the Foundation's keen interest to develop partnerships in some of the priority areas like maternal and neonatal health, nutrition, child health particularly routine immunisation coverage, introduction of new life saving caccines and the consolidation of the gains against polio, family planning through increasing access to and uptake of modern contraceptives.
He also offered to provide similar assistance in the field of agriculture, besides also developing financial services for the poor by expanding digital payment systems into poor and rural communities, and connecting those payments to enhanced savings, credit and insurance services.
Akhilesh Yadav , who met Gates together with a team of senior ministers and key bureaucrats including chief secretary Jawed Usmani, praised the contribution of the Gates Foundation in certain parts of the state through projects like Sure Start, Manthan and Urban Health Initiative.
He also apprised him of the efforts being initiated by his government to tackle the poor health indicators of mother mortality rates, infant mortality rate, low level of complete immunisation, high malnutrition among children, high fertility rate etc.
Apart from these issues, he also discussed with Gates the problems and challenges of vector borne diseases like TB, JE and AES in certain regions of the state.
The chief minister urged Gates to consider a long term comprehensive program essentially to address the maternal and child health issues in the state in a holistic manner.
Far from seeking financial assistance, the chief minister sought Gates Foundation's support for enhancing technical knowledge to tackle health related challenges through innovative methods for effective behavior changes, delivery of services and organisation and management of health systems, including supporting innovative ICT based solutions including telemedicine and capacity building of grassroots level health workers.