L’Afrique : la famine cachée

DAR ES SALAAM – Le photographe sud-africain Kevin Carter avait il y a un peu plus de vingt ans choqué le monde avec sa photographie controversée d’un jeune enfant soudanais mourant de faim guetté par un vautour durant la famine. Les critiques les plus virulents qualifièrent le cliché de « porno du désastre », martelant que l’image constituait un exemple supplémentaire de la tendance de la presse internationale à dépeindre les problèmes de l’Afrique de manière sensationnelle.

Mais ce n’est pas tant l’image qui me dérange. Ce serait plutôt que deux décennies plus tard, les conditions décrites dans cette photographie demeurent fondamentalement identiques. Chaque année, 3,1 millions d’enfants autour du monde meurent de faim.

En tant que médecin d’origine africaine, je sais que les ravages d’une malnutrition sévère et de la famine ne sont pas toujours visibles. Ils ne se manifestent pas toujours par ces enfants fantomatiques à la cage thoracique protubérante reliés à des sondes alimentaires, comme ceux que j’avais coutume de voir dans les hôpitaux en Tanzanie. La malnutrition chronique, ou « famine cachée », se manifeste de différentes façons qui peuvent être tout aussi dévastatrices et mortelles. Si les décès par différentes autres maladies, y compris la dénutrition sévère, sont en baisse, cette famine cachée demeure toujours présente.

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