A documentary produced by staff at Teesside University has been shortlisted for a major international film festival.
Novemba, which follows a team from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as it carries out pioneering work in a hospital in Tanzania, has been selected as part of the Global Health Film Festival in London.
Dave McPhee and Dominic Dunn from Teesside University’s Aurora House Productions, spent 10 days shadowing the team, led by surgeon Mr Liam Horgan, as it carried out the latest keyhole surgery techniques at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), Tanzania’s busiest hospital.
The pair filmed more than 25 hours of footage which has been edited into the 90 minute documentary.
The documentary highlights the importance of the 17-year relationship between Northumbria Healthcare and KCMC.
Whilst in Tanzania, Dominic and Dave were able to record the first-ever day case of gallbladder surgery by keyhole techniques carried out in East Africa. Prior to the intervention by Mr Horgan and his colleagues, similar operations would have required open surgery necessitating weeks in hospital as the patient recuperated.
The Global Health Film initiative uses the power of film as a catalyst for discussion and change.
Its annual film festival, which takes place this year at the Barbican on 11 and 12 November, aims to communicate the advances and challenges in global health to the public by bringing together filmmakers, journalists, scientists, doctors, public health advocates, and those interested in film and in global health.
Dave said: “We wanted the documentary to showcase what the teams from Tanzania and Northumbria managed to achieve by working together in often challenging circumstances.
“We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for this highly prestigious film festival.”
Dominic added: “Being able to witness Mr Horgan and his team working alongside their counterparts at KCMC was a real privilege and this documentary is a testament to their ingenuity, skill and hard work.”
Brenda Longstaff, head of international partnerships at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Telling the story of our projects at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania has been a real challenge for the film makers; balancing the heart-wrenching day-to-day business of providing healthcare whilst also documenting the incredible work being undertaken by healthcare volunteers.
“Northumbria's professionals have committed time and energy to work in partnership with their Tanzanian colleagues for more than 17 years, using precious annual leave to push forward lasting improvements to healthcare services. It has been a joint effort and the benefits of this work has touched many lives across Tanzania.
“The documentary shows the grit and determination of the teams who battle against lack of resources to create new services to improve outcomes for thousands of patients.
“The film shows the harsh realities faced on a daily basis by Tanzanian patients who have to struggle to pay for healthcare services. It also shows the incredible benefits that can be achieved by people working together with one mind and one goal.
“This is a story that needs to be told as it shows the true value of international collaboration.
“We are so grateful to Dave McPhee and Dominic Dunn of Aurora House Productions at Teesside University; they have done an incredible job of capturing the essence of what we do. Sometimes it’s hard viewing but that is the reality.
“What really matters is that it shows the humanity of what we do, the tears and the triumphs and the pure joy of doing something together that can really make a difference to people’s lives.”
For more information on the Global Health Film Festival visit www.globalhealthfilm.org