BioHistory Seminar: Initiatives against inequality in the fight against epidemics – University of Copenhagen

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BioHistory Seminar: Initiatives against inequality in the fight against epidemics

- the oral polio vaccine store set up by the World Health Organization
in 1964

Presentation by Noelia M. Martín-Espinosa. PhD. Assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing of Toledo (University of Castilla-La Mancha). Spain.

Oral polio vaccine.

The strategic reserve
Unequal access to vaccination and its social implications for the fight against infectious diseases and the containment of epidemics prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to take countermeasures in the 1960s. This presentation will analyze WHO’s response by focusing on the initiative taken by the WHO in 1964 to set up a strategic reserve of one and half million doses of oral polio vaccine.

Tackling epidemics in underdeveloped countries
The vaccines were available for those underdeveloped areas of the world that might have to tackle epidemics without sufficient financial resources. This initiative should be framed in a double reference axis: on the one hand, within the history of the WHO itself and of its policies, and on the other hand, within the framework of the specific program against poliomyelitis developed by the organization, from 1953 onwards.

The main sources used are documents from the historical archive of the World Health Organization in Geneva (correspondence, published and unpublished reports, memorandum), and its journals such as the Bulletin of the WHO.

The presentation is a part of the BioHistory Seminar Series at the Saxo Institute, and it will take place in room 12.3.07, building 12, KUA 2, Karen Blixens Vej 4, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, September 17th 2015, 12.00-13.00. It is a brown bag seminar – so you are most welcome to bring your lunch.