Pregnant woman

Zika et les droits à la contraception

NEW YORK – Les moustiques font fi des frontières et la peur aussi. Tandis que les experts en santé publique se démènent contre le virus Zika, la panique continue de se répandre dans le monde entier. Mais la crise a aussi permis de mettre en lumière deux faits importants.

La première constatation gravite autour de l’étendue de la dégradation des réseaux de santé publique, en Amérique latine et ailleurs. Cette décrépitude n’est pas le fruit du hasard. Elle résulte en grande partie des pressions exercées, dès les années 1980, sur les pays en développement par des institutions financières comme le Fonds monétaire international qui accordent des prêts assortis à de conditions avantageuses en contrepartie de compressions budgétaires du secteur social, y compris les dépenses de santé. Au Brésil et ailleurs, les autorités publiques auraient pu déployer des mesures connues et peu coûteuses de lutte aux maladies transmises par les moustiques, mais elles ne l’ont pas fait. Les citoyens les plus éprouvés, qui sont souvent les plus démunis, ont dû en subir les conséquences.

En second lieu, l’épidémie de Zika a révélé, de façon particulièrement aiguë, une autre grave menace à la santé publique : le refus de reconnaître les droits des femmes à la contraception. Là aussi, les États se dérobent devant leur responsabilité, souvent de façon qui frise le ridicule. Le pic signalé des cas de microcéphalie – une malformation congénitale – chez les nourrissons dans les zones où sévit le virus du Zika a amené les instances du Brésil, de Colombie, d’Équateur et d’El Salvador à lancer des avertissements aux femmes « d’éviter de tomber enceinte ».

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