Bill Gates to visit Bihar

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has reached out to Bihar. Ready to take up some philanthropic works in health sector in the countryside, Foundation co-chairperson is arriving here on Wednesday and will travel to at least a couple of remote and dusty villages during his daylong maiden visit to the state.


Gates, the founder of computer giant Microsoft, is arriving on Wednesday morning along with his team.


He will also hold a meeting with chief minister Nitish Kumar before flying back. He is expected to strike a partnership with the Bihar government and sign an agreement to work in mother-child care and eradication of kala-azar and polio.


"He will visit at least two villages in Khagaria and Banka districts to explore work in health sector," health minister Nandkishore Yadav told TOI. He said the Foundation is already working in Guleria Musahri village in Khagaria and will select one in Banka also. Gates, who was in a Rae Bareli village in UP along with AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, will reach here by a chartered plane.


Principal cabinet secretary Afzal Amanullah said he will fly to the villages by his own chopper and later hold discussions with officials before meeting the CM. Incidentally, Gates, who had been the richest person of the world for several years, had a desire to meet Nitish and had spoken to him through video-conferencing from Delhi on July 24 last year.


During the talks, he had promised to constitute a Task Froce for Bihar to workout areas of cooperation through BMGF, the biggest charitable organization in the world.


He had then commended Nitish for progress in health programmes and was impressed with the significant increase in childhood immunization. He had stressed on complete eradication of polio, particularly in Kosi region. He said, "We are ready to work with your government and all partners in the polio effort to stop transmission in Bihar and ultimately assure all parents that their children are safe from this crippling disease."


The BMGF had proposed to partner with Bihar government in polio and kala-azar eradication task while acknowledging that state government was showing resolve to tackle the critical health concerns.


TNN, May 12, 2010