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Smallpox Eradication Commemoration 2010 Secretariat (SEC2010)

Our Mission

sec2010 1 insetThe purpose of the SEC2010 Secretariat was to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the global eradication of smallpox during 2010 and to create worldwide recognition of this unprecedented public health achievement.

The SEC2010 group raised funds for three projects:

  1. the commissioning of a bronze monument on the grounds of the World Health organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland,
  2. the publication of an illustrated history of smallpox and its eradication, and
  3. an international symposium examining the legacy of eradication.

PROJECT ONE: Commissioning a Bronze Monument

On May 17th, 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled the SEC2010 bronze grouping in commemoration of the global eradication of smallpox.

To view information about the monument unveiling and celebration, click here.

sec2010 project 1 insetMay 17, 2010 marked the first day of this year's World Health Assembly. At 18:00 hours at the end of the first day's deliberations, the WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, unveiled the bronze grouping in a short ceremony. The grouping was placed opposite the WHO headquarters' main entrance.

The bronze grouping, funded by many SEC2010 donors, symbolizes the coming together of peoples from all nations to solve a major health scourge that plagued the human family since the beginning of recorded history. Together, the peoples of the world achieved this unprecedented success of eradicating smallpox. It also highlights the "bifurcated needle" developed by a Wyeth Laboratory scientist. The needle was a new and simple tool that was used to effectively vaccinate millions of people during the last years of the global eradication campaign.

The design, sculptures, and fabrication of the bronze memorial is by Martin Williams Sculputural Design, Swansea, Wales, U.K. The selection was made through an international design competition in early 2009. The depiction included here is an early rendering of the proposed bronze grouping.

Major Support for the Bronze Monument was Received from the Following Groups:

The Marguerite Casey Foundation; China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (SINOPHARM); The Google.org Fund of the Tides Foundation; GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals; The Monica and Hermen Greenberg Foundation; the Katz Family Foundation; The Rockefeller Foundation (plaques); Serum Institute of India Ltd.; Tianyuan Bio-pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.; and Wyeth/Lederle Vaccines.

Individual donations came from: I. Arita; J. & V. Breman; L. Brilliant; J. Copland; A. Deria; J. & B. Drescher; P. Drotman and C. Arakaki; K. Eckstrom; W. & T. Emmet; J. Esposito; V. Fedenev; P. Fine & V. Beral; D. Francis; J. Friedman; R. Greenberg; M. Guinan; D. & N. Henderson; R. & I. Henderson; D. Heymann; P. Imperato; R. Jackson; Z. Jezel; S. Jones; R. Keenlyside; L. Khodakevich; S. Lamm; H. McGee; H. Miner; W. & J. Mitchell; S. & N. Music; D. & C. Olsen; V. Radke; G. & W. Robbins; M. Robbins; A. & E. Rosenbloom; J & B Roy; E. Shafa; D. Tarantola; B. Weniger; and numerous anonymous donors.

PROJECT TWO: Commissioning a graphic novel entitled "Smallpox Zero, an Illustrated History of Smallpox and its Eradication"

sec2010 project 2 insetWith support from sanofi pasteur, Vestergaard Frandsen, and others, the 80-page graphic novel was printed in April 2010 in Singapore by the Umlando Wezithombe, African Comic Production House, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The book is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of national and international health workers from more than 70 countries, and to the scientists, manufacturers, policy makers, and funders who made smallpox eradication possible. They worked tirelessly to eradicate in little more than 10 years humanity's greatest scourge.

Copies were available at the unveiling ceremony in Geneva on May 17th, 2010, with the illustrator/author present to sign copies.

PROJECT THREE: Organizing an International Symposium

The symposium, entitled "Smallpox Eradication After 30 Years; Lessons, Legacies, and Innovations," took place 24-27 August, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

To learn more about the symposium and to review the agenda, go to Rio Symposium. To access the symposium via a video stream, go here.

To read a statement regarding the symposium, click here. To see pictures of symposium participants, click here and here.

Principal Funders for the International Symposium include:

The Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Emory Global Health Institute, The Fogarty International Center, the NIH, Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Google.org Fund of the Tides Foundation, NIH (NIAID), The Rockefeller Foundation, The U.N. Foundation, The Wellcome Trust Center for the History of Medicine, and selected individual donors.

SMALLPOX ERADICATION - An Unprecendented Achievement

The eradication of a disease for which there was no cure, a disease that had killed more people than all the wars in history, was probably the most ambitious disease control effort in the history of medicine undertaken by the World Health Organization. Smallpox, considered to be too insidious to eradicate, was boldly defeated. Its eradication is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished by mankind when nations work together toward a common goal. The success of the eradication program serves as a reminder to us all that international cooperation is invaluable for battling and solving common problems.

About Smallpox Eradication

The Smallpox Eradication Program is properly ascribed as having heroic dimensions. It began with the adoption of Resolution WHA 11.54 presented by the Soviet Union to the Eleventh World Health Assembly in 1958. In 1966, the program began in earnest when smallpox was raging throughout parts of South America, Asia, and Africa. A disease that plagued mankind for thousands of years and killed millions took exactly 10 years, nine months, and 26 days to defeat after the world decided to eradicate it. The world's last case occurred on 26 October 1977.

Hundreds of thousands of health workers faced enormous personal and logistical challenges. They faced wars, typhoons, and highly mobile populations to reach populations in the most remote mountains, deserts, and plains. These workers, highly motivated by a clear and focused goal, achieved what most skeptics thought impossible.

Today, we salute the World Health Organization's bold decisions and the political fortitude to propose, implement, and successfully complete a major public health program. The very fact that the world no longer supports or needs a Smallpox Eradication Program at the WHO is in itself the best testament to a most unique and unprecedented human achievement -- the eradication of smallpox.

The global Smallpox Eradication Program left a rich scientific and technical endowment. Significant advances made in epidemiology, laboratory science, and in logistics and management of public health have influenced disease control programs ever since. It also made a difference in people's lives. Millions of people were saved from the ravages of the disease and hundreds of thousands of local, national, and international public health workers gained experience and confidence from having participated in the program.

Press Releases

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To learn more about smallpox and its eradication, go to:

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