By Daisy Lamothe
Seydou Konaté is a doctor in Nongon, a small village in Southern Mali, without electricity or telephones, isolated by two rivers with no bridges, and a 10-hour drive on a dirt road from the capital of Bamako. Working out of the Community Health Care Center, with limited staff and technical facilities, he is the only doctor for more than 40,000 inhabitants.
Everything's Fine portrays Konaté's everyday routine, meeting with patients in his office, treating a variety of injuries and ailments in the clinic, lecturing people on the use of condoms to prevent AIDS, warning against the dangers of using water from contaminated wells, insisting on regular vaccinations for young children, dealing with complications of pregnancy, and even comparing professional notes with a traditional healer who comes in for a diagnosis.
The 37-year-old doctor, who declares that he is proud to be practicing the "noble art of medicine," works at a fixed salary and lives most of the year apart from his family in Bamako. He is an affable personality with an engaging sense of humor who relates easily to his patients, but he will also angrily get in someone's face when they persist in perpetuating unsanitary conditions that endanger the lives of the entire community, such as a market food vendor who persists in cooking with contaminated well water.
In this impoverished nation of 11 million inhabitants, doctors like Konaté have their work cut out for them. More than 1 in 5 children die before the age of 15, 140,000 people are living with HIV, 25,000 people die every year from malaria, and half the population have no access to drinkable water. In addition to demonstrating his own quiet commitment to delivering quality health care for little money, Konaté offers his views on the financial support of development programs, which he feels are well meaning but without working knowledge of the difficult field realities.
Through its engaging portrait of this self-styled "bush doctor," who must try to prevent epidemics of cholera and AIDS as well as deal with the all-too-common but no less life-threatening problems of dehydration and diarrhea, Everything's Fine offers revealing insights into the challenges of health care in Africa today.
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"Recommended! What makes this film stand out... is the intimacy created through the intertwining of Malian culture."—Educational Media Reviews Online
"A wonderful, humorous and serious documentary... a beautiful portrait of a village, its people, and its doctor."allAfrica.com
Awards & Conference Screenings
Award of Commendation, 2007 Society for Visual Anthropology/AAA Film Festival
Heritage Award Winner, 2006 Cinéma du Réel
2006 Montreal World Film Festival
2006 Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival
2006 International Festival of Films on the Environment
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