Donka: X-Ray of an African Hospital
By Thierry Michel
Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea - the largest public hospital in the country - is similar to many African hospitals. Built in 1959 just before independence, it was designed based on a European model, with little consideration for the realities of Africa. The most important hospital in the country, its plight typifies the crisis affecting the entire African health sector.
Over the years the hospital has accumulated substantial debt that neither the Guinean state nor international agencies will pay. Compelled to develop its financial autonomy, the hospital enforces a pay-as-you-go policy. This financial strategy is rigorously applied, but at a high human cost. In this hospital of last resort, families strive to save a child or parent, but without money, there are no drugs and little chance for survival. Revenues rise, but access to treatment diminishes.
As we follow the floor-to-floor progress of patients, their families, doctors and nurses, portraits alternate to form a living chronicle where tragedy meets hope.
Purchase $248 DVD
Order No. QA-524
"In the course of revealing the state of basic services in West Africa ... where health care is available only for those who can afford it ... Donka also illuminates the dedication of the few who struggle against the darkness." San Francisco International Film Festival
Awards & Conference Screenings
Golden Spire Award Winner, 1997 San Francisco Film Festival
Best of the Festival and Best International Documentary, 1997 Hot Docs
Everything's Fine: Seydou Konaté is a doctor in a remote area in Mali. But he is at the center of a global issue: bringing quality health care to rural people left behind by development.
Worlds Apart: A series on cross-cultural healthcare. These four unique trigger films raise awareness about how cultural barriers affect patient-provider communication and other aspects of care for patients of diverse backgrounds.
Secret People: Until the late 1950's Americans with leprosy could be forcibly transported, often in chains, to the leprosarium at Carville. This is a disturbing story of stigma and discrimination in our public health system.
Front Wards, Back Wards: They were called idiots, simpletons and fools, and for 160 years Fernald State School America’s first institution for people who were then labeled mentally retarded was where they would stay. Through the recollections of staff, residents and families, this program profiles the evolution of our attitudes toward people with developmental disabilities.
Lest We Forget: Silent Voices: Documenting the least-known part of the civil rights movement, these are the first-person stories of people with developmental disabilities — labeled “mentally defective” — who were sent away to state institutions. It also features the voices of the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who were left behind, as well as pioneering professionals and advocates who put their own lives and careers in jeopardy to change the system.
Country Doctors, Rural Medicine: Health care in rural America is in trouble. While rural populations grow older, poorer and sicker, doctors, nurse-practitioners, and other healthcare providers are in critically short supply. Yet there are many rewards for professionals who choose to serve rural communities.