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SEARO. NC Grasset

Photo credit: Left: WHO; Right: n/a
Source: Left: WHO 1988, Smallpox and Its Eradication; Right: DA Henderson


Dr Nicole Christiane Grasset (1927-2009), France was a virologist, microbiologist, and epidemiologist served as the SEARO adviser for smallpox eradication during 1970-76. She succeeded Dr Jacobus Keja (Netherlands,) SEARO adviser during 1967-69.

In 1968, she was at the Institut Pasteur, but responded to a Red Cross request for technical assistance with measles and smallpox vaccination in Biafra. She was part of a small team that organized a vaccination campaign. Despite staggering difficulties, in 1969 the campaign performed a weekly average of 100,000 smallpox and 3,500 measles vaccinations.

Nicole was extremely able, always impeccably dressed, and intrepid. At the end of her service, she and her starter pistol drove alone from India to France through societies not welcoming to unaccompanied women. She was also sensitive to the importance of the support given by wives and family to men who had to be absent, sometimes for weeks, on arduous field tours for work they believed in.