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saving soweto

An Eight Episode Documentary Series
Running Time: 8 x 23 minutes
Release Date: January 9, 2009
Rebroadcast: April 19, 2010 on
Al Jazeera English

Produced by Fort Greene Filmworks &
Left Hand Films for Al Jazeera English


The series profiles "a day in the life" of the dedicated, but overworked doctors, staff, and nurses at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, located in the township of Soweto near Johannesburg, South Africa. Known as Bara by the locals, it is the world's largest hospital and serves a community of five million people. Each episode follows the committed staff as they deal with the health and social issues plaguing the community, from HIV/AIDS to crime-inflicted injuries.


EPISODE ONE - "24 HOURS OF TRAUMA"
Cameras follow Irish doctor Patrick MacGoey and intern Kaajal Pharboo through their 24 hour month-end shift in Bara's overburdened Trauma Unit where stabbings, rape, and motor vehicle accident victims are standard fare.

EPISODE TWO - "OVERLOAD"
Medical Admission Ward 20 deals with all of Soweto's non-surgical medical
emergencies. Doctors are constantly overwhelmed by the numbers of patients
seeking help and in this ward, sixty to eighty percent of deaths are due to
HIV and AIDS.

EPISODE THREE - "FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE"
Three out of ten pregnant women have HIV in South Africa today. The
Maternity Unit at Soweto's Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital delivers about
seventy babies a day, many born with the disease and who come into the world
with no say in their care or management of the disease.

EPISODE FOUR - "SEEING THE LIGHT"
Eye doctors at Bara's St John's Eye Clinic can treat up to a few hundred people a day. Patients can expect to wait most of the day in the queue to see a doctor. The waiting list for cataract surgery is currently two years. In this episode, we follow some of the doctors as they treat patients suffering from a wide variety of eye disorders and trauma.

EPISODE FIVE - "HEALING THE WOUNDS"
Dr Adelin Muganza is head of Bara's Burn Unit. Mostly poverty related,
accidental burns constitute two thirds of all his admissions; suicide
attempts about five percent and the rest are due to assault. In the Trauma
Unit, Dr Patrick MacGoey tries to save the life of a seven year-old girl,
knocked down outside her home by an unlicensed driver.

EPISODE SIX - "VITAL ORGANS"
South Africa struggles with massive organ shortages urgently needed for
patients awaiting transplant. At Bara, Organ Donor Co-ordinator Sister
Matsie Pooe works hard to convince those in her community to defy their
cultural beliefs and become donors.

EPISODE SEVEN - "PANDEMIC"
About nine hundred South Africans are dying each day from HIV and AIDS. Getting people to admit they have the disease and onto treatment is a major stumbling block in the management of the continent-wide pandemic. "Pandemic" follows the doctors and nurses who are trying to treat the disease in spite of the stigma that surrounds it.

EPISODE EIGHT - "INTENSIVE CARE"
A touching story from Bara's ICU about the hospital's longest running
patient, Peter Bouhail, ill with a severe case Guillain-Barré Syndrome. His rehabilitation and friendship with the nurses is heart-warming and inspiring.


shareen and lisa
"Shareen Anderson and Lisa Henry before filming an
operation for Saving Soweto."


Directors, Writers, Producers: Shareen Anderson and Lisa Henry
Director of Photography: Ian Miller
Cinematographers: Ian Miller, Shareen Anderson and Joe Oosthuizen
Sound Recordists: Zeblon Ngobese, Lebo Mawashwa, Sam Masemene
Offline Editors: Taku Kaskela and Karyn Bosch
Post Production Assistants: Palesa Sehlako, Ivy Sithole, Fallon Thompson,
Mishumo Mathivha, Paul da Costa
Music: Music Box
Music Supervisor: Taku Kaskela
Narrator: Lisa Henry
Opening Title Sequence and Graphics: Clint Corden
Online Editor: Bertus Kirsten
Final Audio Mix: Janno Müller and Tim Pringle, On Key Sound Studios
Online Facilities: Velvet Films
Stills Photographer: Lisa Henry
Executive Producer for Al Jazeera English: Mike Dillon

RELATED LINKS:

Left Hand Films
Al Jazeera English
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital
Africa Health Placements