MARY F. CALVERT, USA

NIGERIA: POLIO – ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK

Kano is the regional capital of the state of the same name in Nigeria. Poliomyelitis, often shortened to polio and also called infantile paralysis, is an incurable viral disease. What have Kano and Polio got to do with one another? In 2002, Islamic religious zeal combined with lack of knowledge and a hate campaign against western influence led to Kano shunning the WHO’s polio campaign. Rumor had it that the vaccine had been laced with anti-fertility drugs or even that they were used by the West to spread AIDS. The fatal consequence: after four years of disinformation, more than 3,000 children were infected with the poliovirus.

But the enormous number of children who suffered permanent health issues made even the most bigoted leaders change their minds. Now, they have are supporting prophylactic vaccination. Together with other organizations, UNICEF has been carrying out information and awareness campaigns that have already proved to be very successful: from 2009 to 2010, the number of polio cases in Nigeria decreased by 95%.

Capturing the demand for the right to physical integrity and good health, in particular in women and children, has been the main motivation behind American photographer Mary F. Calvert’s impressive images for many years.

Curriculum Vitae: Mary F. Calvert

Mary F. Calvert

© Mary F. Calvert/THE WASHINGTON TIMES

EDUCATION

  • San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, 1985-89 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism
  • Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, Virginia, 1977-83 Associate of Arts, Fine Art Photography, Cum Laude

EXPERIENCE

  • Washington DC, January 2010-present

Freelance Photographer

  • The Washington Times, Washington DC June 1998-December 2009,

Staff Photographer

  • The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California November 1992-May 1998,

Staff Photographer

REFERENCES

  • Wally MacNamee, photographer, Newsweek, retired
  • Linda D. Epstein, McClatchy-Tribune Photo Service, McClatchy Washington Bureau Senior Photo Editor
  • Eli Reed, photographer, Magnum Photos, University of Texas, Faculty

HONORS

  • HOPE FOR A HEALTHY WORLD COMPETITION

2011 Best Global Health Picture Story, “Polio’s Line in the Sand”

  • Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

2008 First Place, International Photography, “Lost Daughters”
1989 First Place, “Helpers in the War on A.I.D.S.”, San Francisco State University

  • The Pulitzer Prize

2010 Finalist, The Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography, “Congo’s War on Women”
2007 Finalist, The Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography, “Ethiopia’s Trail of Tears”

THE CONTEST

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PHOTO OF THE YEAR 2011

More information on the competition and the UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2011 reportages.

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