Posted on 4 December 2018
On Wednesday 24 October 2018, the 113th Global Health Histories seminar, ‘Immunization for Universal Health Coverage’ took place at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. You can now watch the presentations from panellists Dr Namrata Ganneri (University of York, UK & SNDT College of Arts & SCB College of Commerce and Science for Women, Mumbai, India) & Dr Byron Crape (Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan) on the CGHH YouTube channel.
Immunization protects individuals, communities, nations and regions from deadly infectious diseases in a globally-linked world. And yet the recent resurgence of measles across the world reminds us that immunization is not just about developing a safe and reliable technology. The strength of health systems matters as well, especially when they geared towards equity and looking after the health of all. This raises questions about the interconnections between immunization and their location within national health services; there is agreement that they can strengthen each other, but there is less unanimity about how this can be achieved. The smallpox eradication programme, widely regarded as the greatest triumph in twentieth century global public health and international cooperation, offers useful pointers. In this seminar, Dr. Namrata Ganneri showed that this is especially true when that historical analysis is evidence-based, critical and independent, and Dr. Byron Crape demonstrated the ongoing efforts and problems relating to immunization in contemporary public health practices.
The event was chaired by Dr Clare Griffin (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nazarbayev University). Reflecting on the value of the seminar, Dr Griffin said that; “I am interested in findings ways for the medical humanities to have a direct and important role in contemporary medical and public health practice. The WHO-GHH seminars provide a perfect opportunity for humanities scholars to demonstrate what they can contribute. In the case of our seminar, we were able to challenge the popular idea that medicine has only progressed over time, by showing how past successes of immunisation can provide vital tools and models to address present problems. Such discussions are particularly helpful at a new, and STEM-focused, university like NU, as it has helped us forge links between the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the NU School of Medicine, links which will have a long-term impact on how we think about medicine in this institution.”
Cath up with the full event, the presentations “Re-reading ‘Success’ and ‘Failure’ in the Indian Smallpox Eradication Programme” (Dr Ganneri) and “Anti-vax Movement and the Challenge for Primary Care Professionals” (Dr Crape), and the post-presentation discussion with the audience via the event playlist on the CGHH YouTube channel.