The government has prepared a coordinated and comprehensive plan to make Pakistan polio free, announced the Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza.

The special assistant, who has the status of a minister of state, made those remarks in UAE, where he met the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the donors of the polio eradication program in Pakistan, reported Radio Pakistan.

This year, to date, the country has reported 86 polio cases, a 600 per cent jump from last year total of 12 cases. Majority of the cases have been recorded in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

In October, Babar bin Atta, the prime minister’s focal person for polio, resigned after only being in office for one year. While the position remains vacant, the federal health ministry is overlooking the polio immunisation campaign in the country.

During the meeting, Dr Mirza said that international donors have committed $2.6 billion, including $1.08 billion from the Bill Gates Foundation, to end polio in Pakistan. Separately, he added, the government will also be allocating $150 million for the program.