War: The Nurses of Gulu
Documentary launches June 6th on W Network
illness in the fall of 2000 strikes and kills, in Africa. Nurses,
with a shortage of protective gear, are on the cusp of an epidemic.
to die. The diagnosis: Ebola.
For the first
time, their story of courage and compassion is being shared with
television audiences. June 6th at 9 pm EDT, the W Network
presents Ebola War: The Nurses of Gulu.
melt. Bodily fluids pour from openings. Up to 90% of Ebola victims
die, but even more frighteningly, they are contagious even in death.
The virus stays alive in the secretions of the dead for three days.
By the time
the disease is spent in Gulu, 163 are dead including Dr.
Matthew Lukwiya and twelve nurses. This one hour documentary from
Alethia Productions Inc. is a timely tale in an age of new heroes,
see a dramatic five month struggle against the demons of an unknowable
disease being fought in a developing country. The illness sows panic
in the community. Nurses are suspected by villagers of spreading
Ebola. They are banned from buying food in the market. Friends turn
their backs. Family members plead with them to quit work, but they
refuse. The nurses fear the disease will follow them home. No one
The Nurses of Gulu is a powerful and poignant documentary which
takes viewers to the northern Ugandan community of Gulu and into
the eye of a virulent epidemic.
Shot on location
in hospital isolation wards and villages, the contrasts are breathtaking.
The stunning beauty of Africa mixes with terror. Viewers see painful
suffering, exhausted hospital workers and finally joyous, unimaginable
exuberance. Trauma and triumph are explored in these eyewitness
accounts from frontline medical workers.
The Nurses of Gulu was filmed, written and directed by David
Belluz. "I was in awe of those sacrificing their lives for
no monetary gain. For one month, the isolation ward was madness.
What these nurses did in this place of evil was extraordinary."
In the fall
of 2000, David was in Uganda shooting the story of child soldiers
when the outbreak occurred. He'd already witnessed the horrifying
results of sixteen years of struggle between the Lord's Resistance
Army and government soldiers. Then, on his way to Gulu, he heard
that Ebola had begun its attack.
The World Health
Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moved in
yet still nurses died.
to the battlefield" says nurse Walter Onena . Finishing his
thought is Nurse Parka Obwona, "We were all wearing the same
protective gear. That is the scary part."
For the first
time, Canada was asked by WHO to join the Global Response Network
Team. Health Canada sent in three of its field epidemiologist, including
Dr. Bonnie Henry.
obstacles were fear. Ebola is an enigma that has potential to cause
enormous damage," Henry says.
says this story is one, "that taps into all our senses".
The Nurses of Gulu is an intimate and moving look at the harsh
reality of health care workers; the ethical decisions they face;
the sacrifices they make. The cost of being "our brother's
keeper" is great. The cost of turning away is insurmountable.
Front line workers facing crisis and fear will definitely strike
a chord with today's television audiences.
narrated by Gemini nominee Marina Orsini, gets its first airing
on W Network at 9 pm. EDT, June 6. Additional airings take
place on Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) and The Documentary
haunting score was composed by the award-winning J. Douglas Dodd
and features compelling vocals from Joëlle Rabu.
The Nurses of Gulu was produced by David Belluz and his company
Alethia Productions Inc. Lori Kuffner is Senior Producer. Daryl
K. Davis is editor and story consultant.
provided by W Network, Canadian International Development
Agency (CIDA), Canadian Television Fund, Saskatchewan Communications
Network, The Documentary Channel, the Saskatchewan Film Employment
Tax Credit, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and
developed with the participation of SaskFilm
including images for download are available online at: http://www.alethiaprod.com/ebola
VHS screening copies and additional information contact Alethia
Productions Inc., Regina, Saskatchewan (306) 585-1596
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