Looks at how global and local forces thwarted the eradication of polio, one of the world’s most important and ambitious health campaigns.
In 1988, the World Health Organization launched a 12-year campaign to wipe out polio. Thirty years and several billion dollars over budget later, the campaign grinds on, vaccinating millions of children and hoping that each new year might see an end to the disease. But success remains elusive, against a surprisingly resilient virus, an unexpectedly weak vaccine and the vagaries of global politics, meeting with indifference from governments and populations alike.
How did a campaign to achieve something so obviously good – ridding the world of a crippling disease – become a hostage of geopolitics? Why do parents refuse to vaccinate their children against polio? And why have poorly paid door-to-door health workers been assassinated? Thomas Abraham reports on the ground in search of answers.
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“Abraham’s work is a useful additional primer, describing campaigns in different countries and bringing the story up to date.”
“Science journalist Thomas Abraham travelled from slum to boardroom to research the GPEI’s premise and practice, as well as the broader trajectory of the disease and the efforts to tackle it. The result is a trenchant, well-argued analysis.”
“The book contains good technical, but generally accessible, background on how the poliovirus works for its own interests at human expense… Abraham challenges us to apply lessons learned from the polio eradication campaign to inform future global public health endeavours. His book gives plenty for scholars to debate.”