by D.A. Henderson
In 1970, I was visited in Geneva by representatives of the Anyanya Resistance Movement—rebel forces who were active in southern Sudan. They said that smallpox was not present in their area, but they wanted the vaccine because they were afraid of smallpox being brought into the area by Ethiopian migrants.
When we asked how we could get vaccine to them, they said that they regularly took supplies from northern Uganda into Sudan, traveling on foot for seven to ten days through the forests. It was in everyone’s best interest that they have the vaccine—but the Sudanese government could not vaccinate in the rebel-controlled areas, and WHO could not provide vaccine to the Anyanya.
The dilemma was resolved by giving quantities of vaccine directly to the resistance movement’s leaders and recording the amount as “lost to inventory.” After the war ended in 1972, Sudanese staff found that there were surprisingly large numbers of vaccinated residents in the southern rural areas, but no cases.
Experience the on-the-ground realities of the JiVitA project in Bangladesh through the images of Bangla photographer Saikat Mojumder.
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