Night Shift on Malaria’s Frontline in Sierra Leone
Filmed in Sierra Leone
Commissioned by BBC News Digital Video
Production Company: On Our Radar
The lights go out. Dr Gbondo races out of the Intensive Care Unit. The children she’s caring for are on oxygen and they will struggle without power. When, finally, the electricity supply has been fixed, Dr Gbondo reveals that a baby who was on oxygen has died. It’s the start of a long night shift for the doctors at Ola During. Around half of their cases tonight will be children with malaria. In the A&E unit, by 10pm several children have arrived with symptoms of malaria. Dr Barrie has performed Rapid Diagnostic Tests on some of them and they have been stabilised. One patient is malaria-positive and her haemoglobin count is low. She will need an emergency blood transfusion. Malaria is especially dangerous for children because their immunity is extremely low. Within a few days, a perfectly healthy child can collapse into a vicious fever. Night Shift is an emotional journey that reveals what it’s really like on the frontline. It reveals the challenges facing the fight against malaria, but also shows the power of free healthcare and quick treatment in saving the lives of mothers and young children.
Paul is a multimedia journalist and Head of Editorial at On Our Radar. He previously worked as an investigative reporter for Channel 4 before joining On Our Radar, where he has lead on their journalism projects, working with marginalised communities to tell their stories.
Zoë is a series producer and director who has made films across arts, history, current affairs and docs. She recently co-directed My Stolen Childhood for BBC Africa Eye with Paul and produced The NHS: A People’s History for BBC Four.
“This entry really stood apart from the others because it was very professional and had a real filmmaking quality to it…There was also a sense of intimacy: you got to know this little clinic and you got to know the things that really affect people there.”
Vice President, International Newsgathering, NBC News