Ebola Film Out Soon

By Ayodele Deen Cole

A new movie about the role played by local people in combating the last Ebola virus outbreak will be released late this month by a local film Director and producer, Arthur Pratt. The film titled Survivors will be shown in the United States of America (USA) before making it way to Freetown. According to the Mr. Pratt, the role that locals played in combating the outbreak was grossly under-reported, adding that preoccupation with the foreign experience overshadowed the contributions of the locals. He continued that the film brings the viewer to the communities of Sierra Leone to follow a few of the unsung heroes who were first on the scene before international response intensified.

The Director documented his own experience, along with the experiences of many others who risked death to manage the said epidemic, while holding their families together. Giving a preview of the film, Mr. Pratt said that survivors go beyond the images of bodies being carried in white body-bags amidst screams and cries of the despair, adding that the Ebola is seen as an “enemy” that shatters the true foundation of a gourds culture and community. Those who fall ill are kept in isolation, separated by walls, tents and even protective clothing worn by healthcare workers. However, this does not deter Nurse Margaret from hugging a colleague who contracted the disease while treating other patients. It does not stop Mohamed, an ambulance driver from carrying a man on his back to be treated for Ebola. It also does not discourage Nurse Kadija from holding and comforting a sick child who is taken from his mother to seek treatment. These individuals quickly learnt that Ebola cannot be managed within the bounds of established protocol and procedures: they take matters into their own hands to help save the lives of others. Despite their best efforts, they feel overridden by international aid workers who arrive late yet take over. There is anger when these workers make a move to fire Mohamed, considered a hero for the sacrifices he has made.