By Mary Hilpertshauser
Project Manager, GPEI History Project
Interviewers are being sought in India, Myanmar and Indonesia to help document the stories of those involved in polio vaccination programs or who are polio survivors. If you know anyone in these countries who would be willing to conduct interviews, please contact Mary Hilpertshauser, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project’s main objective is to ensure documentation of the history of global polio eradication through the efforts of the GPEI. Project partners include: the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The World Health Organization, UNICEF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International. All have representatives in the project, and all contribute equally. The partnership, initiated in 1988, is nearing its end with an imminent (fingers crossed) eradication of polio. That said, the GPEI history project is in the process of documenting the steps leading to the 1988 WHO declaration, the global partnership itself, the lessons learned, and to recognize those involved in the efforts.
Specifically, the project will:
- Identify existing archival and historical collections held by each of the GPEI partners and other organizations with a significant role in polio eradication. This should include archival collections, publications, artifacts, moving images, sound recordings, oral histories, etc.
- Identify gaps in the archival record
- Identify collecting criteria for GPEI (rather than institution-specific) records
- Conduct oral histories of selected individuals including polio survivors and workers from around the world
The second objective is to bring the story of the eradication of polio and the GPEI to a broader audience both now and after eradication. This will be accomplished by creating an online repository of GPEI current, archival and historical collections, using Global Health Chronicles or similar website.