Mectizan Donation Program: Total Coverage
This film is part of a larger series we produced for the Mectizan Donation Program in which we detail the full history and journey of Mectizan pills. From the initiation of testing Ivermectin as a treatment for Onchocerciasis and on to the rollout of its distribution across the world, the series shares the success of a simple yet effective way to bring life-changing results to many millions of people worldwide.
In this, the 3rd film of the 5-part series, we highlight the pivotal role of Community-Directed Distributors. These volunteers ensure that members of their communities have constant access to treatment for Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis, and reach some of the most remote parts of their countries in order to ensure these diseases can be eliminated.
We treated this particular episode like an action film, where CDDs are our hero. With fast and engaging montages we wanted to make sure the viewer is as impressed with these volunteers work as we are.
World NTD Day 2023
Over a billion people are affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases globally. It takes an enormous amount of will, work, and cooperation to eliminate these diseases.
Created for the Mectizan Donation Program to celebrate the gains made in eliminating neglected tropical diseases on World NTD Day 2023, this film follows the story of Square Makwanda. A former coordinator of the Lymphatic Filariasis program in Malawi, Square managed to start a mass distribution program with very little resources. Included is a testimony from Professor Monique Dorkenoo, former Lymphatic Filariasis program coordinator for Togo. In her testimony, the doctor highlights the need for a plan and resourcefulness from health coordinators and workers. Together, they tell a powerful story about how one individual can make a difference and inspire the political and community will needed to deliver life-changing medicine where it’s needed most.
This is an example of a film made in close consultation with our client, with local resources, and using previously-filmed archive material and simple but powerful text to create a powerful message supported by imagery and music.
As much as needed, as long as needed
Staying the course is what it has taken to see River Blindness, a remote neglected tropical disease carried by the bites of black flies, slowly becoming a disease of the past.
In 1987, Merck committed to donate Mectizan – as much as needed, for as long as needed – with the goal to help eliminate river blindness. To celebrate the Mectizan Donation Program‘s 35th anniversary we went through our archives of footage, some filmed by us, some by scientists many years ago, and worked with a South African graphics artist to tell the story of 35 years of progress towards eliminating one of the most robust diseases known to mankind.
With a bespoke composed soundtrack and in-house voice-over, we managed condense 35 years into a powerful 3 and a half minutes!
The film was shown at the annual Mectizan Expert Committee meeting in Malawi in 2022, and since was sent out by MSD CEO Rob Davis to all their staff.
Stamp Out Oncho Social Series
To support the Mectizan Donation Program’s Stamp Out Oncho campaign, and to compliment the longer films we have already produced for them, MDP commissioned a series of short social media clips. The intention behind them was to summarise different aspects of the Stamp Out Oncho story in bite-size films that could be easily distributed.
This is a good example of how our approach of using previously-shot footage, text graphics, and animations, enables us to repurpose existing content to breath new life into a campaign.
Nasarawa State: Beyond Elimination
This film looks at the success in overcoming a crippling disease that has besieged Nigeria, and large parts of Africa for decades. Onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness causes unbearable itching and ultimately blindness to the point where river-side communities were abandoned. Thanks to the dedication of people like Nasarawa State Coordinator for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Jacob Righain, the support of NGO partners The Carter Center and donation of the treating drug Mectizan by Merck & Co., local communities have been empowered to break the transmission of river blindness and create a platform for future disease interventions.
Filming just before the COVID-19 kicked in, we worked with a talented Nigerian crew to get right to the heart of the story. We edited back in the UK and created a bespoke soundtrack to help transport the viewer deeper in to the world of neglected tropical diseases.
It forms part of a wider suite of films used in different ways that have told the MDP story over the years, collaborating with multiple global partners from the Nigerian Ministry of Health and local government, to Sightsavers, the Carter Center and other key players in the game to get full engagement from the offset.
Oncho and LF Elimination Roadmap
An overview of the roadmap travelled by the Mectizan Donation Program in its decades-long fight to eliminate onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. Through the ongoing donation of Mectizan, communities who would otherwise have been ravaged by these debilitating neglected tropical diseases have seen lives changed through the simple administration of a yearly dose of much-needed medicine.
The fight to eradicate these crippling diseases goes on, and is being fought by the MDP and its partner organisations at a global level, as well as on the ground through community networks. Together, their aim is to achieve the aims of the WHO’s 2021-2030 NTD Roadmap Goals.
Kebbi State: The Power of Partnership
This film looks at the power of partnership through the lens of the truly symbiotic relationship that exists between NGOs and the Nigerian government as they strive to eliminate River Blindness.
River blindness is a crippling disease that affects people who live at the margins of society, where they don’t have access to clean water, proper medical care or the preventative treatment Mectizan that is donated by Merck.
The work of non-governmental organisations like Sightsavers is key to helping strengthen national health systems in their response to neglected tropical diseases.
Kate McCoy from Sightsavers said of this film: “It’s absolutely brilliant, the footage is stunning and the partnerships and different players in delivering oncho work come across so well – congrats!”
Stamp Out Oncho: A Distributor’s Story
Stamp Out Oncho is a campaign idea that we came up with on behalf of the Mectizan Donation Programme, to galvanise ministers of health around Africa to take an interest in eliminating the crippling and unnecessary disease, onchocerciasis or River Blindness.
The success of the campaign, to get everyone to take Mectizan to protect them from River Blindness, has been enabled by village health workers like Edoa Pierre, one of many community drug distributors who travel miles and miles to deliver Mectizan in communities around Cameroon.
Stamp Out Oncho: One Persistent Woman
Mme Chebin is on the frontline of community drug distribution to eradicate Onchocerciasis. She lets nothing get in the way of her making sure that each and every person takes their Mectizan treatment in her community in Cameroon.
This interview and many others from this trip to Cameroon was the result of using a local core team working with local partners and a shooting director from the UK, Lewis Davies filming to a script and schedule that allowed for space to spend time with people like Mme Chebin.
Stamp Out Onchocerciasis!
Getting people to stand up and take action is at the core of the Mectizan Donation Program‘s remit – especially when the intended audience are Ministers of Health in African countries. This is the first of a series of films intended to get key influencers to commit to putting their name to a 30 year-long elimination programme – ridding Africa of River Blindness or onchocerciasis. If we work together we can stamp out oncho!
We used a local fixer to go in search of stories that were set up in advance of our shooting producer director’s arrival. We then worked with a wonderful local photographer and camera assistant to create a more integrated team and integrate more in to remote and challenging settings.
It started off a relationship with Cameroon and Nigeria that continues to this day, adding to the list of the many African countries that we have ties with.