In 1980 the World Health Organization declared that smallpox had been eliminated world wide. What an amazing accomplishment! According to WHO in the early 1950s , an estimated 50 million cases of the disease occured in the world each year. Smallpox is unique in that the disease has a distinctive rash and there is no animal resevoir making it ideal for such a campaign but could we do in in 2007? Would every nation cooperate with a global elimination program in 2007? What organization would underwrite such a project?
It seems to me that public health is usually putting out fires rather than looking at the big picture from a global perspective. As we develop more sophisticated surveillance techniques let’s use this information to examine the big picture and develop methods of global cooperation to improve health.