News / Arts & Entertainment

Oscar-Nominated Film Traces Journey of Ailing African Youngsters

Oscar-Nominated Film Traces Journey of Ailing African Youngstersi
X
February 15, 2013
The film "Open Heart" is about eight children with rheumatic heart disease who travel from Rwanda to Sudan for life-saving heart surgery. The short documentary has been nominated for an Academy Award. And as VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, filmmaker Kief Davidson hopes it will spread awareness about a widespread health problem in Africa.

Oscar-Nominated Film Traces Journey of Ailing African Youngsters

TEXT SIZE - +
Mike O'Sullivan
— The film Open Heart  is about eight children with rheumatic heart disease who travel from Rwanda to Sudan for life-saving surgery. The short documentary is nominated for an Academy Award, and filmmaker Kief Davidson said he hopes it will spread awareness about a widespread health problem in Africa.

The film follows Rwandan cardiologist Emmanuel Rusingiza as he struggles to save young heart patients, some with just months to live.  

“You know, sometimes when I go back home, I spend many hours and think about my patients who are not doing well,” said Rusingiza.

A journey to a hospital in Sudan, called the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery, offers hope to eight of those children, their heart valves damaged by acute rheumatic fever. The center is run by an Italian charity.

Davidson tells the story through the eyes of the youngsters and their families.

“I think anyone, particularly anyone who has kids, could only imagine what it must be like for those families,” he said.

The parents had to stay behind in Rwanda, not knowing if their children would survive or if they would ever see them again. Dr. Rusingiza led the children on their journey.

“This stay is going to be a bit long, in a country far from theirs. So it is hard,” he said.

These children suffer from rheumatic heart disease, caused by untreated strep throat that eventually damages heart valves. The problem was once common in the United States, but is now rare, said Davidson.

“And it is as simple as just having access to antibiotics to help solve the problem,” said Davidson.

He said the children's story is getting attention now that the film has been nominated for an Oscar.

“If this gets people talking, and it will, that is when change could happen,” said Davidson.

Rheumatic heart disease affects more than 15 million people worldwide. Health officials say that better distribution of antibiotics and diagnostic tools could save children in Africa and other parts of the developing world.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Saxophonist Craig Handy has an exciting new band called 2nd Line Smith, which combines the organ-jazz repertoire of Jimmy Smith with the “second line” rhythms of New Orleans parade music. Craig Handy joins "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten at Washington’s Bohemian Caverns jazz club to talk about the music and perform with the band.

Blogs