Disease Eradication in the 21st Century

From Strüngmann Forum Reports

Disease Eradication in the 21st Century

Implications for Global Health

Edited by Stephen L. Cochi and Walter R. Dowdle

Experts explore the biological, social, and economic complexities of eradicating disease.





Experts explore the biological, social, and economic complexities of eradicating disease.

Disease eradication represents the ultimate in global equity and the definitive outcome of good public health practice. Thirty years ago, the elimination of smallpox defined disease eradication as a monumental global achievement with lasting benefits for society. Today, the global commitment to eradicate polio and guinea worm and heightened interest in the potential eradication of other infectious diseases, including measles/rubella, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, and malaria, dominate public health concerns. But what does it take to eradicate a disease? This book takes a fresh look at the evolving concepts of disease eradication, influenced by scientific advances, field experience, societal issues, and economic realities. A diverse group of experts from around the world, representing a range of disciplines, examines the biological, social, political, and economic complexities of eradicating a disease.

The book details lessons learned from the initiatives against polio, measles/rubella, and onchocerciasis. Further chapters examine ethical issues, the investment case, governance models, organizational and institutional arrangements, political and social factors, feasibility of eradication goals, priority setting, and the integration of disease eradication programs with existing health systems.

ContributorsStephen L. Cochi, Walter R. Dowdle, Claudia I. Emerson, Kimberly M. Thompson, Radboud J. Duintjer Tebbens, Regina Rabinovich, Lesong Conteh, B. Fenton Hall, Peter A. Singer, Maya Vijayaraghavan, Damian G. Walker, Kari Stoever, Julie Jacobson, Andy Wright, Chris Maher, Bruce Aylward, Ali Jaffer Mohamed, T. Jacob John, Robert S. Scott, Robert Hall, Jeffrey Bates, Sherine Guirguis, Thomas Moran, Peter Strebel, Eric A. Ottesen, Ciro de Quadros, Linda Muller, Jai Prakash Narain, Ole Wichmann, Alan R. Hinman, Stewart Tyson, Robin Biellik, Piya Hanvoravongchai, Sandra Mounier-Jack, Valeria Oliveira Cruz, Dina Balabanova, Yayehyirad Kitaw, Tracey Koehlmoos, Sebastião Loureiro, Mitike Molla, Ha Trong Nguyen, Pierre Ongolo-Zogo, Umeda Sadykova, Harbandhu Sarma, Maria Gloria Teixeira M, Jasim Uddin, Alya Dabbagh, Ulla Kou Griffiths, Muhammad Ali Pate, John O. Gyapong, Adrian Hopkins, Dairiku Hozumi, Mwelecele Malecela


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262016735 336 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 25 figures


Stephen L. Cochi

Stephen L. Cochi is Senior Advisor to the Director, Global Immunization Division, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Walter R. Dowdle is Director of the Polio Antivirals Initiative at the Task Force for Global Health in Decatur, Georgia.

Walter R. Dowdle

Walter R. Dowdle is Director of the Polio Antivirals Initiative at the Task Force for Global Health in Decatur, Georgia.


  • What are the distinct benefits of disease eradication programs? An investment of this generation benefits all future generations, providing ultimate benefit/cost ratios. Disease eradication programs, at their best, explore and promote cutting-edge science and technology, improve delivery approaches, and develop innovative global political liaisons. They bring out the best in global health work. The implications, considerations, progress, and possibilities are presented in this Strüngmann Forum Report.

    William Foege

    epidemiologist and author of House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox

  • This excellent and detailed study on the applicability of eradication of disease in the global health field comes at a time when the world is about to eradicate polio. This in depth look at the effects on global health is timely, and the Strüngmann Forum is to be congratulated in underwriting such an event. These findings will be of great interest to many involved in global health in all its facets, not solely disease eradication.

    Kalyan Banerjee

    2011-2012 President, Rotary International

  • This distinguished panel of authors from many disciplines and professions and worldwide experience has given us a robust and holistic view of what it really takes to eliminate and eradicate infectious and parasitic diseases at the regional and global levels, respectively, and it makes a sound and compelling case for investing in these efforts, which are critically important to improve global health and bring an end to unnecessary suffering, disabilities, and death.

    Mirta Roses Periago

    Director, Pan American Health Organization