In 1988, the World Health Organization launched a twelve-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 an innocuous campaign to rid 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 healthworkers been assassinated? Thomas Abraham reports on the ground in search of answers.
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About the Author
Thomas Abraham is Associate Professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Center, University of Hong Kong, where he teaches health and science journalism. He has worked at the World Health Organization in Geneva and is the author of Twenty-First-Century Plague: The Story of SARS.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Virus, The Vaccines and a Crippled President
1. The Shadowy world of the poliovirus
2. The President and the poliovirus
3. The Salk Vaccine: ending the terror of polio
4. A tool for eradication: Albert Sabin and the Oral Polio Vaccine
Part II: The Road to Eradication
5. A Coalition of the Willing: The Birth of the Global Polio Eradication
6. Removing polio from Spaceship Earth
7. A Hasty Decision and a Slow Start
8. The Doldrum Years
Part III: The Long End Game
9. Rogue Vaccines and Rogue viruses
10. India: The Long Dirty War
11. Two Crises and a Final Victory
12.Pakistan: Where the Poliovirus hid in Bin Laden's shadow