DOCTORS ON THE FRONT LINE
What motivates the healthcare professionals of Médecins sans Frontières to go to the most dangerous places in the world? We are given unique access as MSF personnel provide assistance in Armenia, Kenya, Pakistan and DR Congo.
Episode 1: Dead Bodies Walking (Kenya)
Dagahaley refugee camp on Kenya’s eastern border with Somalia is sanctuary for over 100,000 refugees. MSF runs the camp’s hospital and delivers psychiatric treatment to hundreds of Somalis who are the victims of conflict and the brutality of Islamic extremists. The first film in Doctors on the Frontline interweaves the stories of 25-year-old Ahmed and eight-year-old Fardosa. Ahmed is considered so dangerous by his family that they have chained him up. Fardosa arrived in the camp with her aunt weighing just 10 kg. Both are put on the path to recovery by the MSF doctors. Fardosa is one of the lucky few to get refugee status in western Europe. We catch up with her in Sweden where her aunt tells us that doctors say Fardosa is overweight!
Episode 2: The Red Cases (Pakistan)
Doctors on the Frontline reports from a hospital in the lawless northern border of Pakistan with Afghanistan. Over seven days we follow the medics as they deal with the Emergency Room red cases. Overwhelmed by the casualties of conflict and natural disasters as well as the day to day emergencies faced by any ER anywhere in the world, the Pakistan ministry accepted Médecins Sans Frontières’ help to take over treatment of the red cases, leaving the medics to deal with the casualties rushing into the Emergency Room.
Episode 3: TB, Resurgence of a Killer (Armenia)
TB kills at least 1.8 million people a year – almost as many as HIV/AIDS. Once thought to be on the road to eradication, TB has returned in a deadlier strain, the drug resistant TB (DRTB). Armenia has one of the highest per capita rates of DRTB in the world. Since 2004, MSF – in collaboration with the Ministry of Health – has been running the only DRTB treatment programme in the country. The drug resistant strain of TB is caused by incorrect prescriptions and interruptions in treatment. The more recent DRTB drugs were developed 40 years ago – toxic antibiotics, they cause severe mental and physical side effects and the patients have a hard time completing the treatment. Dr. Shahidul Islam, from Bangladesh, has been working with MSF, in Armenia, for the last two years. He and the medical team of MSF struggle to keep the patients on the treatment. But Maryam, a 20 year old psychology student, has decided to fight the disease at all costs. To do that, she says she’s made friends with TB.
Episode 4: The Big Sleep (D.R. Congo)
Sleeping sickness spread by the tsetse fly has been eradicated from many African countries in the tropical belt. The key to success is ridding the human population carrying the parasite spread by the bite of the fly. But in pockets of Africa where conflict has prevented eradication, sleeping sickness is still a feared killer. One of these pockets is in the jungle of the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This film follows an MSF team delivering treatment to nomadic cattle herders. Against daunting odds, its mobile clinic proves a success. But there is no happy ending to this film as the MSF team is captured by rebels from neighbouring Uganda who strike fear into all the inhabitants of this region. Fortunately, the members escape and are evacuated by plane.