Patna: The Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation has accepted the proposal for awarding its first Vaccine Innovation Award to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The proposal came in the wake of Bihar's remarkable contribution for effectively strengthening the immunization programme, Executive Director State Health Society Sanjay Kumar told a news agency on Tuesday.

Chief Minister had conceded to the request, Sanjay said.  The Union External Affairs ministry too has given the nod for CM to receive the award, he said.

Nitish will thus be the first recipient of the Vaccine Innovation Award, introduced globally by the Foundation having a cash reward of USD 250,000.

The Gate's foundation leadership has on their part acknowledged the winner of the award, Sanjay 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 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 last year.

(Agencies)