Polio vaccination UN Photo/Flickr

La última Resistencia de la polio

GINEBRA – Ha sido un año difícil para Nigeria. En los últimos 12 meses, el país ha sufrido ataques de niños devenidos combatientes suicidas y masacres brutales por parte de Boko Haram. La gran mayoría de las 276 niñas en edad escolar secuestradas en Chibok el año pasado todavía no han aparecido. Y, sin embargo, durante este tiempo, a pesar de estos horrores, Nigeria sigilosamente logró alcanzar algo verdaderamente remarcable: un año entero sin un solo caso de polio salvaje.

Éste es un gran logro para Nigeria y todos sus socios en el esfuerzo por erradicar la enfermedad. Hace menos de 30 años, la polio azotaba a 125 países, dejando paralíticos a 1.000 niños por día. Hasta ahora, había sólo tres países donde el virus todavía era considerado endémico: Afganistán, Pakistán y Nigeria. Las autoridades sanitarias esperan tres años antes de declarar a un país libre de polio, pero el hito de un año en Nigeria aumenta las esperanzas de que tal vez ya hayamos visto el último caso de polio salvaje en el país -y en toda África.

Además del desafío logístico de llegar a todos los niños del país más poblado de África, la campaña de erradicación de la polio nigeriana ha tenido que superar cuestiones de seguridad, la oposición de fundamentalistas religiosos y una corrupción desenfrenada. El hecho de que un país tan aquejado de problemas como Nigeria pudiera llevar adelante una proeza tan importante es motivo de celebración y ofrece motivos para ser optimista, no sólo en la lucha contra la polio, sino respecto de todos los esfuerzos sanitarios en general. El éxito de Nigeria demuestra que es posible llevar los milagros de la medicina moderna a los niños más marginados y a los que más cuesta llegar en el mundo.

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