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Smallpox Eradication: Inclusive Histories as Meaningful Roadmaps for Global Health

Posted on 4 April 2019

Brookings India’s next development seminar will feature Sanjoy Bhattacharya's research on smallpox eradication

Brookings India’s next development seminar will feature CGHH’s Director Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya, speaking on "Smallpox Eradication: Inclusive histories as meaningful roadmaps for Global Health”

Professor Bhattacharya will ask, how was smallpox eradicated worldwide? National experiences of the development of the smallpox vaccine and eradication campaigns varied widely in structure and impact. These were brought together with the help of local actors to create an international fight against the disease. That battle was won, step-by-step with the help of relevant strategic knowledge that was collected and used to create a range of different qualitative projects. Through this endeavour, what emerged was that the knowledge of the political, social, economic and cultural factors was as important as science and technology. These learnings could have resulted in an eradication programme that could have provided democratic models for future global health initiatives. Instead, narrow sets of institutional histories that honoured the voices and actions of a small number of people were created and advocated, which distorted the past and were used as working models for the future. Professor Bhattacharya’s presentation will discuss why it is important to question and challenge these trends.

The event will also feature as discussants Devendra Khandait (Deputy Director and Country Lead, State Health Systems, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (India)) and Anjali Nayyar (Executive Vice President for Global Health Strategies (GHS))

The event takes place on Monday 15 April at Brookings India. Find further information here.

Brookings India’s Development Seminars Series is a platform for global scholars to present their work to a curated audience of senior government officials, politicians, journalists, academics and policy enthusiasts. The format of the seminars includes a senior researcher as a lead presenter and a government/industry expert to discuss the results and relevance within the Indian context. The fundamental focus of the seminar series is to draw research-based insights to shape and influence policy dialogues in India, through purposeful and pointed discussions. Find out more about the series.