Les derniers bastions de la poliomyélite

LAGOS – A Kano dans le nord du Nigeria, où j’ai passé mon enfance, mon maître coranique était totalement paralysé depuis la taille. Un garçon avec lequel j’ai grandi ne pouvait se servir de ses jambes. C’était il y a cinquante ans et je ne savais pas ce qu’était la polio. Ces handicaps faisaient partie de la réalité quotidienne au Nigeria. A l’époque, je n’imaginais pas qu’ils pouvaient être évités par un simple vaccin – que si ces personnes avaient été immunisées, elles n’auraient pas été paralysées.

Depuis l’invention du premier vaccin contre la polio il y a soixante ans, la maladie a été éradiquée dans la plupart des pays du monde. Même des pays confrontés à des obstacles conséquents – comme l’Inde, avec une population de 1,2 milliard de personnes, une pauvreté endémique et des infrastructures insuffisantes – ont vaincu la poliomyélite.

Le Nigeria est l’un des trois pays, avec l’Afghanistan et le Pakistan, qui reste en proie au fléau de la polio. Kano est l’un des rares endroits du monde où trois souches différentes de cette maladie ont été enregistrées en 2012.

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