House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox (California/Milbank Books on Health and the Public)

House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox (California/Milbank Books on Health and the Public)

William H. Foege

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0520274474

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A story of courage and risk-taking, House on Fire tells how smallpox, a disease that killed, blinded, and scarred millions over centuries of human history, was completely eradicated in a spectacular triumph of medicine and public health. Part autobiography, part mystery, the story is told by a man who was one of the architects of a radical vaccination scheme that became a key strategy in ending the horrible disease when it was finally contained in India. In House on Fire, William H. Foege describes his own experiences in public health and details the remarkable program that involved people from countries around the world in pursuit of a single objective—eliminating smallpox forever. Rich with the details of everyday life, as well as a few adventures, House on Fire gives an intimate sense of what it is like to work on the ground in some of the world’s most impoverished countries—and tells what it is like to contribute to programs that really do change the world.

Cats of Africa

Being Colonized: The Kuba Experience in Rural Congo, 1880-1960 (Africa and the Diaspora)

The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence (Revised and Updated Edition)

Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh

Sizwe's Test: A Young Man's Journey Through Africa's AIDS Epidemic



















exposure can still prevent the disease or modify its severity. After initiating these efforts, I spent the remainder of the first full day on the Navajo reservation, reconstructing time lines, questioning people, and vaccinating contacts. That night I learned that the initial laboratory report results were compatible with smallpox. The seriousness of the situation was increasing. Late that night I read a local newspaper interview with a former medical missionary who had worked in Asia and was

wall. The Delhi assessment committee recommended revising the eradication target from 80 to 100 percent. Given the difficulty of achieving 80 percent coverage in most of the country, this new target could only have lowered morale even further. In 1964, the Central Council of Health reviewed the progress of the national smallpox eradication program and made the same recommendation: 100 percent vaccination coverage in all sectors of the population. Vaccination figures did increase afterward, but

after the WHA passed the resolution to establish a funded global smallpox eradication program, a joint Government of India and WHO assessment team was organized. Four states were selected for evaluation: Maharashtra, which had a high incidence of smallpox; Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, which had intermediate incidence; and Tamil Nadu, with a low reported incidence. Within each state, districts and villages were selected at random for investigation. The results were depressingly similar to those from

of thousands of small streams forming creeks of information, the creeks forming rivers; the delta they flowed into was the assembly of all of this information for these two states. In Uttar Pradesh, a state meeting of field personnel was scheduled for November 5. The New Delhi staff began to worry that the meeting might be chaotic if we received the district reports from this first search at the meeting itself. The caliber of revisions in methodology for the second search might be compromised

India, and not only for India but for the reward I would give when they brought me cases. They stopped to look at the cards and hear what I was saying. That encouraged me to more forceful exhortations. Then they began to back away, possibly out of embarrassment or fear. As I spoke louder and with more fervor about what India was trying to do to rid the country of smallpox, I realized I had gained control. Gradually they retreated and finally disappeared. We cautiously resumed our trip into

Download sample