Bill Gates, Melinda visit Bihar villages


Patna : Software billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda who co-chair their international philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation arrived here on a day-long visit Wednesday to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, policy makers, NGOs and community leaders and interacted with villagers.

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Soon after arrival, Bill and Melinda visited Jamsaut and Sabjpura villages in the Danapur sub-division near Patna.

Talking to newspersons after meeting villagers, Bill Gates said he was here to know how the health projects funded by his foundation were working for people.

“I am here to know about how far health projects funded by the foundation in partnership with the Bihar government are working to reduce infant and maternal mortality. Besides, (the progress in) institutional delivery and immunization,” Bill Gates said.

“Along with their delegation, they met local villagers and interacted with them to understand their problems,” a district official who accompanied them told IANS.

Bill Gates also visited Sabjpura-based Cereal Systems Initiatives for South Asia(CSISA), which aims to help millions of Indian farmers substantially boost crop yield and their income within 10 years. “They spent nearly an hour at CSISA to see and understand the project,” the official said.

They met 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.

“They will meet Nitish Kumar Wednesday evening. Before that they will hold meetings with Patna district magistrate, top government officials, NGO partners and community leaders,” an official said.

Last May, Bill Gates and his wife visited poverty-stricken Gularia village in Khagaria district and Tertariya village in Banka district of the state.