Improving World Health
In some countries, vitamin A, measles vaccine, and tetanus shots have
been given during immunization days
in addition to the polio vaccine.
As early as 1974, world health workers began to conceive of immunizing
all the worldís children against vaccine-preventable childhood diseases: diphtheria,
Haemophilus influenzae type b, polio, measles, mumps rubella, pertussis
(whooping cough), hepatitis A and B, tetanus (lockjaw), and varicella
(chicken pox). The campaign against polio established the model to make
improvements in world health more achievable—with trained epidemiologists,
a network of laboratories, volunteers, cold chains, an information
system, a comprehensive surveillance system, and funding mechanisms.
If Smallpox, Why Not Polio?
World eradication of smallpox in 1980 prompted health officials to
suppose that other diseases might be eliminated. The intense global
campaign against polio started in 1988, after the World Health Organization,
the Pan American Health Organization, Rotary International, UNICEF
(the United Nations Children’s Fund), and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention had succeeded in controlling polio in the
Western Hemisphere. Poverty, politics, wars, and diseases in resource-limited
nations have made it difficult to end the transmission of poliovirus.