United Nations agencies mark 40th anniversary of smallpox eradication with stamp


The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Postal Agency have issued a commemorative postage stamp to mark the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox.

“To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the eradication of #pox, the Postal Administration @UN and WHO are issuing a commemorative postage stamp to recognize global solidarity in the fight against smallpox,” WHO tweeted during of the virtual unveiling of the stamp in Geneva on Friday.

In another tweet, he said, “#OnThisDay 40 years ago, #smallpox made history. It is the only human disease to have been eradicated to date. One lesson we need to learn is: when the Europe-Africa globe unites behind scientific and public health measures, we can defeat disease and protect lives and livelihoods. “

Smallpox has been eradicated through a 10-year effort led by WHO involving thousands of health workers around the world to administer half a billion vaccinations.

“When the WHO smallpox eradication campaign was launched in 1967, one of the ways in which countries became aware of smallpox was through postage stamps – when social media like Twitter and Facebook were not even on the horizon, “Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) -General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The stamp recognizes global solidarity in the fight against smallpox and pays tribute to millions of people working together, from world leaders and international organizations to rural doctors and community health workers, to eradicate smallpox.

The head of WHO said many of the basic public health tools that have been used successfully to eradicate smallpox are the same as those used to respond to Ebola and Covid – 19: disease surveillance, case finding , search for contacts and mass communication campaigns to inform affected populations.

WHO is currently working with many partners to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 to control the transmission of the virus, said Ghebreyesus.

The UN said the success of the smallpox eradication program had provided essential knowledge and tools for the area of ​​disease surveillance, the benefits of immunization and the importance of health promotion in fight against other diseases.

In May 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly issued its official statement that “the world and all of its peoples have become free from smallpox”.

“There are many lessons to be learned from the eradication of smallpox that can help fight the Covid-19 pandemic today and prepare for future pandemics,” said the UN.

“The eradication of smallpox gives us hope and shows us what global solidarity can achieve,” he said.


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