Caixin
Jan 22, 2019 07:13 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Gu Fangzhou, Who Eradicated Polio in China, Dies at 92

Gu Fangzhou died earlier this month at the age of 92. Photo: VCG
Gu Fangzhou died earlier this month at the age of 92. Photo: VCG

In the early hours of Jan. 2, Gu Fangzhou died at the age of 92. In the days since, those who knew him have reflected warmly on the man who eradicated polio in China by developing the “sugar-coated pill” vaccine.

Born in Shanghai in 1926, Gu lost his father at an early age, and his mother worked as a midwife to support the family. He studied hard in the hope of reducing her burden, passing the exam to attend Peking University Health Science Center in 1944. At his mother’s request, he studied there for six years before he fell under the influence of progressive teachers and decided to devote himself to public health. He said of the decision: “A doctor can save lives, but he can help millions by throwing himself into public health.” It was this thinking that led him to protect millions of children.

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