Nitish being considered for Gates Innovation Award

Patna: The Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation has accepted the proposal for conferring the Gates Innovation Award to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the first Gates Vaccine Innovation Award. The proposal came in the wake of Bihar`s remarkable contribution for effectively strengthening the immunisation programme, Executive Director State Health Society Sanjay Kumar told PTI today.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had conceded to the request, Kumar said. The Union External Affairs ministry too has given the nod for Kumar to receive the award, he said. The Bihar Chief Minister will thus be the first recipient of the Vaccine Innovation Award, introduced globally by the Foundation having carried a cash of US 250,000.

The Gate`s foundation leadership has on their part acknowledged the winner of the award, Kumar said. The Foundation had taken the decision last year to bestow the award on an individual/a team having made the most innovative contribution in vaccination field.

The Foundation was of the view that hundreds and thousands of lives could have been saved by improved access to vaccines, which should be cost-effective, safe and proven to protect children from diseases.

Innovation is essential in overcoming the most persistent challenges in reaching more and more children with vaccines, the Foundation felt. The rise in routine immunisation played a major role in making Bihar a polio-free state in the country with not a single case of the dreaded disease reported in one year, 2011.