Commemorating Smallpox Eradication, a legacy of hope, for COVID-19 and other diseases
On 8 May 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly officially declared: ‘The world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.’
The declaration marked the end of a disease that had plagued humanity for at least 3 000 years, killing 300 million people in the 20th century alone.
It was ended, thanks to a 10-year global effort, spearheaded by the World Health Organization, that involved thousands of health workers around the world to administer half a billion vaccinations to stamp out smallpox.
The US$ 300m price-tag to eradicate smallpox saves the world well over US$ 1 billion every year since 1980.
Speaking at a virtual event hosted at WHO-HQ, involving key players in the eradication effort, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity’s victory over smallpox is a reminder of what is possible when nations come together to fight a common health threat.”
The world got rid of smallpox thanks to an incredible demonstration of global solidarity, and because it had a safe and effective vaccine. Solidarity plus science equalled solution!
Dr Tedros highlighted that smallpox eradication also offers hope for efforts to eliminate other infectious diseases, including polio, which is now endemic in just two …continued .
[Original Source: WHO]