Appreciating the efforts of the government in containing polio and HIV, software czar and philanthropist Bill Gates on Tuesday discussed issues relating to immunisation and pentavalent vaccine production with Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here.

Mr. Gates and his wife Melinda called on Mr. Azad and discussed matters relating to the immunisation programme, pentavalent vaccine, polio vaccination efforts, HIV control and capacity building, senior officials said.

The Microsoft founder appreciated the efforts made by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in containing polio and HIV cases and noted that intensification of efforts for eradicating polio were evident from the 2010 figures.

Mr. Azad thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for extending help in bringing about innovations in health, development and learning to the Indian community and urged Mr. Gates to continue their support for the fourth phase of the National AIDS Control Programme so that the momentum of the Programme was maintained.

The Gates couple will also go to Bihar and visit community health workers and State officials to see first-hand the launch of a five-year $80 million grant made in partnership with the State government and leading Indian and international non-governmental organisations. On March 24, Mr. Gates will join Mr. Azad, Minister of Human Resources and Development Kapil Sibal and Minister of Science and Technology P.K. Bansal at a function to mark the World Tuberculosis Day.

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