The Death of a Disease: A History of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis

The Death of a Disease: A History of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis

The Death of a Disease: A History of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis

The Death of a Disease: A History of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis

Synopsis

In 1988, the World Health Organization launched a campaign for the global eradication of polio. Today, this goal is closer than ever. Fewer than 1,300 people were paralyzed from the disease in 2004, down from approximately 350,000 in 1988.

Excerpt

Boureima Bagré is five years old. He lives with his family in the village of Seguedin, in the Nanoro district of this West African country. Burkina Faso means [land of honest people.]

Boureima helps shepherd the family's donkeys and goats, but, unlike the other children, he does not tug or pull on the animals to coax them into their pen at the end of the day. He cannot play for long without sitting down. Mostly he leans against the adobe wall, watching his sisters, mother, and aunts as they gather around an enormous flat rock, each woman gripping a stone with both hands to pound millet for the evening meal. Boureima's left leg is withered and bent, and it turns out unnaturally from the knee. He limps when he walks.

Aïnata Kafando lives in the village of Sassa, in the district of Yako, in Burkina Faso. Aïnata, who is six, likes to stay next to her grandmother or near her father as he feeds millet into a machine that crushes it. The noise from the diesel motor that powers the machine, located halfway . . .

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