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WORLD HEALTH. 1987 Aug-Sep; 8-11.The implications of the fact that it was concerted global effort that eradicated smallpox are discussed. The primary reason why the effort succeeded is that specific measurable goals and time deadlines were built in. The 10-year goal was met in 9 years 9 months 26 days. Universal political commitment, including provision of funds by WHO and by constituent countries, was required. A strategy of 80% vaccination and surveillance and containment of outbreaks, followed by certification of eradication, was adhered to. Whether the smallpox campaign could be used as a template for eradicating other diseases is discussed. The biology of smallpox makes it a unique candidate for eradication, while no other disease shares all of its qualifications, such as having only a human host. Lessons have been learned for control of other diseases, however. With regard to the concept of primary health care for all, the smallpox effort showed that finite, specific programs are better supported than basic health services. The eradication demonstrated the power of good leadership and common goals supported by an international institution.
Indian Pediatrics. 1983 Apr; 20(4):235-42.This article discusses implementation of the Alma Ata Declaration on primary health care in developing countries, particularly in India. Tasks are outlined in the areas of health indicators, training of health personnel, allocation of resources, integration of traditional health workers, drug policy, and health delivery strategies. The success of the primary health care strategy hinges on the support of the rest of the health system and of other social and economic sectors. Each country will have to specify its own health goals and priorities within the context of overall development policies, particular circumstances, social and economic structures, and political and administrative mechanisms. The training of health personnel, which is an essential part of primary health care, should be geared to the health needs of the community rather than patterned after the health services in developed countries. In particular, greater use should be made of community health workers. Traditional practitioners represent another potential reservoir of personnel for primary health care, and their integration into the modern system of medicine should be organized. The Government of India has adopted a strategy aimed at integrating promotive, preventive, and curative aspects of health care through a decentralized approach that involves the community in planning, providing, and maintaining the health services. 580,000 community health volunteers, as well as 1 traditional birth attendant for each village, are scheduled to be trained. A subcenter with 1 male and 1 female multipurpose worker is planned for every 5000 population; a subsidiary health center staffed by a doctor, 2 health assistants, and 2 multipurpose workers is proposed for every 25,000 population; and a primary health center is proposed for every 50,000 population, with 1 in every 4 centers to be upgraded to a rural hospital. The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program delivers maternal and child health services at the village level. The number of ICDS projects is proposed to be increased to cover 913 of the 5011 community blocks and 87 urban slum areas by 1985.