WHO AFRO – the ESPEN initiative

The main assembly room at the WHO in Geneva was full of excitement as partners from leading pharmaceutical companies, Ministers of Health from across Africa, scientists and the Gates Foundation gathered to discuss the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases, a set of often-ignored and crippling diseases.

Working with a 2-person crew travelling over to Geneva for the day, we gauged the temperature in the room to capture the core messaging – and excitement!

The film was published along with the final report to give context to the people involved and ambition down the line.


Leadership Against Neglected Tropical Diseases

Sightsavers had originally wanted to invite three community medicine distributors form around Africa to speak at the launch of the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases Declaration, at the Natural History Museum in London, with the WHO and Gates Foundation amongst the delegates they wanted to communicate the success stories on the ground. However getting visas in such a short space of time ruled this out.

Wrangling with customs officers, visas and hugely long car journeys we filmed in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia over 10 days, where we travelled to the remotest regions to hear these people’s stories.

Hosted by Sightsavers and attended by over 200 people from across the pharma, donor and NGO sectors including the Gates Foundation and World Health Organisation, the film was used to launch a discussion on the importance of attaining the WHO 2020 goals for Neglected Tropical Diseases.


London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases: 5th Anniversary

One in seven of the world’s population suffer from a neglected tropical disease. That’s more than the population of Europe. And yet, through large-scale mass drug distribution programmes in some of the poorest regions on the planet, nearly one billion people are now safer from these diseases than they were half a decade ago.

This film celebrates the 5th anniversary of a groundbreaking international coalition: Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Its aim is hugely ambitious yet highly focused: to control, eradicate or eliminate ten debilitating and potentially fatal tropical diseases by 2020. Here, we document some of the incredible progress so far.

This six-minute introductory film was shown to over 800 senior government officials and world health delegates at the World Health Organisation in Geneva in April 2017. With a revised version created for distribution on social media after the event, this brings the number of films we delivered to 15 – all of which help to share the positive impacts of this life-changing programme to a wider audience.


Leprosy in Ghana: Kofi’s Story

In the developing world, the impact of Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is still being felt. For many with this debilitating condition, the social stigma (sometimes self-imposed) can lead to social exclusion and even estrangement from family.

In Ghana, Kofi Nyarko is a man on a mission. As someone who has had Hansen’s disease himself, he now dedicates his life to reuniting other sufferers with their families – some of whom haven’t seen their family in decades. In this moving film, Kofi shares his message of hope. Today, Hansen’s disease can easily be treated with a simple drug. But the social stigma is more difficult to overcome. We travel with him on two momentous days, as James and Ekua are reunited with their families after more than 30 years apart.

This film was commissioned by Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) to give a human face to Hansen’s disease.


The Most Remote Corner of the Earth

In 2015, we were commissioned by Sightsavers to make a last-minute film in three countries in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Our brief: to look into the leadership built around the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases. With footage captured on a chest-mount GoPro, we shot a ten-day trip that took us across Africa, and into the most remote corner of the Earth.

This film gives an insight into the packing, passports, shots, challenges and effort that goes into every Cloud9Media international trip.

 


Remote African Eye Surgery

With this film played at the United To Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases (UTCNTD) UN conference in 2015, we were proud to assist in providing this compelling story with a wider audience.

Charles and his remote eye surgery team (supported by Sightsavers and UTCNTDs) is on hand to find people with trachoma and transport them to the mobile eye surgery where they can be treated. A simple operation can be hugely effective, often restoring full sight. Equally importantly, health education work is being carried out in these regions to help prevention of trachoma, which is transmitted by flies, for future generations.

To film the story, we took a five-hour road trip from Nairobi to Kajiado County to work in dry and sometimes difficult shooting conditions. But it was truly inspiring to see the impact that this programme is having on individuals and families – people come in blind, and they leave with their vision restored. Thanks to the work of UTCNTDs, Sightsavers and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, who support local healthcare teams, we think this is a truly awesome programme.