Gates Foundation funds polio eradication effort in Nigeria

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced on Wednesday that it would reward $500,000 to states that can eradicate polio in Nigeria in 2012.
The award was announced during a meeting last week between Bill and Melinda Gates and the Governors' Forum, represented by Rivers State governor Rotimi Ameachi. The initiative is called the "Governors Immunization Leadership Challenge" and will recognize governors whose states pass a pre-defined threshold to improve routine immunization coverage and end polio, Vanguard reports.
The states that meet the threshold criteria will receive the $500,000 grant to support their top health priorities.
“Nigeria's leaders are critical to making Nigeria polio free and their renewed confirmation last week of the Abuja Commitments will make an important difference," a statement from the Gates Foundation said, according to Vanguard. "As Nigeria’s partner, the Gates Foundation is committed to doing what we can support their efforts to end this terrible, but preventable, disease. The award will support winning governors’ priority initiatives in public health, such as malaria and tuberculosis, improving immunization, HIV prevention and treatment, or safe drinking water and hygiene promotion."
The governors who achieve the goals will also receive special recognition from Gates for their contribution and will be highlighted in the communications of the foundations.
"The Immunization Leadership Challenge will be open to all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory," the Gates Foundation's statement said, according to Vanguard. "Any interested governor will need to officially enter his state in the award program through the Nigeria Governors’ Forum by October 31. To receive the grant, the state will need to pass a rigorous set of criteria based on outcomes in their polio program and routine immunization services."
The statement affirmed the commitment of the Governors' Forum to eradicating polio in the country and Ameachi assured the foundation that the governors of Nigeria wanted to stop polio and improve routine immunization protecting Nigeria's children against preventable diseases.