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 who play a key role in Mectizan donation. 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

To celebrate the gains made in eliminating neglected tropical diseases on World NTD Day 2023, this film created for Mectizan Donation Program 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. With over a billion people affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases globally, it takes an enormous amount of determination, hard work, and cooperation to eliminate these diseases.

This is an example of a film made in close consultation with our client, with our global network of trusted filmmakers, and using previously-filmed archive material and simple but powerful text to create a powerful message supported by imagery and music.

We’re very proud that this film was the key showcase of achievements made by Mectizan Donation Program on World NTD Day in 2023.


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.

Filmed just before the COVID-19 lockdown 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 into the world of neglected tropical diseases.

It forms part of a wider suite of films used in different ways that have told the Mectizan Donation Program 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 such as onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis 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.

As experts in global health storytelling, we’ve had many opportunities to hone our craft, and get to understand the realities on the ground that make for emotive stories which burst the bubble. Years of fine-tuning our approach to interviews, and the use of a trusted global network of local expert filmmakers, have enabled us to develop our approach and deliver video content that are compelling and deliver key messaging where it’s needed.

To find out more about how we craft films that have positive impact, take a look at this article.


Kebbi State: The Power of Partnership

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.

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 lymphatic filariasis, which is also known as River Blindness.

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: One Persistent Woman

Mme Chebin is on the frontline of community drug distribution to eradicate Onchocerciasis (also known as oncho). 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.

The effectiveness of partners in the Task Force For Global Health‘s programmes such as Mectizan Donation Program are thanks to a global network that reaches far-off places that are often without formal medical infrastructure. For last mile delivery of lifesaving medicine, its often down to community drug distributors like Mme Chebin to come to the aid of their fellow community members.

This interview on the fight against oncho 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.

As experts in global health storytelling, we’ve had many opportunities to hone our craft, and get to understand the realities on the ground that make for emotive stories which burst the bubble. Years of fine-tuning our approach to interviews, and the use of a trusted network of local expert filmmakers, have enabled us to develop our approach and deliver video content that are compelling and deliver key messaging where it’s needed.

To find out more about how we craft films that have positive impact, take a look at our Malaria Storytelling article.