I am fortunate enough to know Bill Foege, to have worked for him at the CDC, to be mentored by his example, and to enjoy many lectures he has given. He is simply one of the great people of our time. Although I went to Nigeria for 3 months in 1969 to work on smallpox immunizations and worked at the CDC for 30 years (in birth defects), there was much about the smallpox eradication story I did not know. I found this book so exciting that it was difficult to put down. I think that all who work in public health will enjoy this book. New students in public health should be inspired by and learn from reading this story of public health action that made such and important difference for mankind. I suspect many a layman or woman will also enjoy this wonderful, readable book.
I draw attention to one of Foege's important messages. If you seek to improve a human condition, it is important to know that you have an intervention that works and that you can tell whether or not the intervention has improved the outcome. It is not just enough to throw good will and money at the problem. As Foege says: "this is a cause-and-effect world, and smallpox disappeared because of a plan, conceivewd and implemented on purpose by people."
On a lighter note, I enjoyed his saying never hire a pessimist. If you need one for a while, contract for one.
January 10, 2020. Placing my umptienth order for four copies to give to those I think will enjoy or be inspired to work on the total prevention of spina bifida F--a disabling and often fatal birth defect that we have the "vaccine? for --required, mass fortification of food such as flour or salt with the B vitamin folic acid--but we are not using for 80% of the global population. We have had the vaccine for 29 years. I hope it will not be 200 years before all women of reproductive age have been "vaccinated" to prevent spina bifida and anencephaly--an always fatal birth defect that folic acid fortification prevents.
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