Working in health care has always been the most important thing in social work. Without a massive worldwide effort, it would have been impossible to rid humanity of smallpox. The other childhood disease that international agencies, along with local health care service providers, are trying to eradicate is polio.
In the developed world, this disease has been eradicated by educating people about it and making sure that every young child under the age of five is administered anti-polio vaccine in the form of polio drops.
In the developing world, state governments, international agencies and healthcare service providers run massive campaigns to administer anti-polio vaccine free of cost to every child. This is only possible by getting volunteers to go from door to door and find out if there are any children in the household who need to be given these drops. Without the help of volunteers, running such a massive campaign would be impossible.
Trying to rid the world of a disease is perhaps the best example of collective social work. The manufacturers agree to provide the vaccine at no cost; airlines and shipping companies provide transportation and delivery at no cost. The government or organization running the campaign calls for volunteers to administer the medicine. People in the poorest countries volunteer to provide this service free of cost. So, no single organization has to bear the cost of running such massive campaigns.
Students are always eager to volunteer in such social work and step forward to do it. This shows that people care for the well being of every person on earth, regardless of their color, creed or ethnicity. To help a person to live a better life is the basic objective of social work.
The reason why the world is not free from polio is not due to lack of effort on the part of worldwide organizations, but due to lack of education of the recipients. In certain countries, religious groups have stopped volunteers from administering the anti-polio vaccine, which has caused a major setback to riding the world of this disease.
It is only after people are educated about the usefulness of saving their children from getting afflicted by this disease and they decide not to listen to preachers and get anti-polio drops administered will the world be able to heave a collective sigh of relief. To accomplish this will require a massive voluntary effort, which can only be achieved through a massive social effort.
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