Dear Reader,

First of all, I would like to thank KAC Communications for putting this electronic version of the book on their website. This book is a public health first-hand experience of people who worked on the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme (GSEP), one of the biggest achievements of mankind in the last century, at least from the public health perspective.

The year of 2010 marked the 30th anniversary of the liberation of the planet from smallpox, which was a significant event in the history of mankind. Around that time, my father, Dr. Lev Khodakevich and some of his colleagues initiated a group of former Russian colleagues who worked on the GSEP to put together a compilation about their experiences while working on this programme.

It was first published in Russian in 2012 by the State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology Vector.  This book was presented on 12 April 2012 at the 10th Congress of the all – Russian scientific and practical society of epidemiologists, microbiologists and parasitologists in Moscow. It was then recommended by Dr D. A. Henderson, Chief of Smallpox Eradication Unit at WHO Headquarters during the intensified stage of the programme, that the book be translated into English so that it could reach a wider audience.

Looking back in history, the idea of worldwide eradication programme was presented in 1958 at the 11th World Health Assembly by Dr. Viktor Zhdanov, the Deputy Minister of Health of the USSR. This proposal was accepted and approved by many countries. Thus was born the WHO Global Smallpox Eradication Programme, bringing together experts from dozens of countries.


Many scientific works have been written about how this programme was implemented. This book describes the daily work and experience of the specialists working in different countries. Their live stories are accompanied by unique pictures depicting the working moments of the programme.

The book is addressed both to scientific and medical specialists, as well as a wider circle of readers, who might be interested to learn about these first-hand experiences.

I hope you will enjoy reading these memoirs.


Click here to download the PDF (30Mb):


Natalia Khodakevich


P.S. The materials of this book were used for two documentaries on smallpox shown on central television of the Russian Federation. 

The book was published by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, not for sale, the authors did not receive any remunerations. It can be freely used with usual source citation.