CLIENT: UNITING TO COMBAT NTDS
DISTRIBUTION: CONFERENCE & SOCIAL MEDIA
LOCATION: UGANDA, ETHIOPIA
We received a call early on Monday from Uniting to Combat NTDs, they were in a bit of a pickle.
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.
So on Comic Relief’s recommendation, Sightsavers sent me out instead, to go and capture stories on how people in the remotest communities are taking ownership of the NTD-related programmes funded by a host of big partners. Five days later I was on a plane with my trusty camera heading to Nairobi, the first stop on my three country tour and not sure if my visa would be approved for the last country, Ethiopia in time.
Wrangling with customs officers, visas and hugely long car journeys we filmed over 10 days in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, 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 incl. 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.
It went down a storm.
“It’s just been shown to 16 ministers of health from West Africa and the President of Ghana (total audience of 100 with their delegations) at the President’s Council for Health which I was chairing in Accra. It was part of my introduction which, surprise surprise, was on NTDs. They applauded the film and the President of Ghana, John Mahama, lept up and hugged me saying “this is what communities in Africa are all about” – he nearly knocked me off the stage. After that high it’s back to discussions on Ebola after lunch”.
Thoko Pooley, Sightsavers