Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
BHATTACHARYA, Sanjoy. Multifaceted contributions: health workers and smallpox eradication in India. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.3, pp. 955-964. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232008000300017.
Smallpox eradication in South Asia was a result of the efforts of many grades of health-workers. Working from within the confines of international organisations and government structures, the role of the field officials, who were of various nationalities and also drawn from the cities and rural enclaves of the countries in these regions, was crucial to the development and deployment of policies. However, the role of these personnel is often downplayed in official histories and academic histories, which highlight instead the roles played by a handful of senior officials within the World Health Organization and the federal governments in the sub-continent. This article attempts to provide a more rounded assessment of the complex situation in the field. In this regard, an effort is made to underline the great usefulness of the operational flexibility displayed by field officers, wherein lessons learnt in the field were made an integral part of deploying local campaigns; careful engagement with the communities being targeted, as well as the employment of short term workers from amongst them, was an important feature of this work.
Keywords : Smallpox eradication; World Health Organization; South East Asia Regional Office of the World Health Organization; Vaccination; Immunisation.