Magazine article Geographical

The Health of Nations: Towards a World without Contagious Disease

Magazine article Geographical

The Health of Nations: Towards a World without Contagious Disease

Article excerpt

THE HEALTH OF NATIONS: Towards a World Without Contagious Disease

by Karen Bartlett; Oneworld; [pounds sterling]18.99 (hardback)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The world's leading health organisations were not easily convinced that total eradication of polio would be possible. Great success had been achieved in both Europe and the US during the 1950s and 1960s but could we ever wipe out a disease which produced so many 'invisible carriers' with no symptoms? By the late 1980s, though, the gauntlet was thrown down at the highest levels and, at first, progress was impressively swift. Then came India, a nation with so many remote populations and in which the birth rate outstripped the ability to inoculate. The polio workers, the heroes of Karen Bartlett's book, soldiered on undeterred and ultimately reached their goal. It was a wonderful example and, these days, polio is only endemic in three countries around the globe: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. …

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