The odyssey of eradication

By Thomas Abraham

Public Health, Immunology, Non-Fiction


Published by Hurst Publishers

Longlist 2019

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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