The man who cleared the smallpox devil, an US doctor and epidemiologist Donald Henderson, wipe out smallpox worldwide, has died at the age of 87.
Larger than life image in the field of public health for his work in the 1960s and 70s, Dr. Henderson died of post complications due to breaking a hip.
He was the man who cleared one of the world’s deadliest diseases, smallpox killed hundreds of millions of people in the last century alone.
Officially declared smallpox eradicated in 1980 – the first infectious disease to have been fought on a global scale.
The WHO appointed Henderson, known as D.A, to lead its drive to stamp out the disease in 1966. At the time it was still endemic in Africa and Asia.
Few gave him much chance of success. But Henderson focussed on isolating outbreaks of the disease and systematically vaccinating people, rather than a mass vaccination programme.
After his work for the WHO, Henderson went on to serve as science and bioterrorism adviser to three US presidents as well holding other academic and medical posts.
WHO global drive against smallpox 1966-1980
Total cost of eradication was $300m
More than 200,000 staff in over 70 countries carried out the work
Involved 2,400 million doses of vaccine
Source: World Health Organization