MUMBAI: Al Jazeera English follows the work of health heroes fighting against the most neglected disease across India in the documentary Ancient Enemy, part of the groundbreaking eight-part series ‘Lifelines, The Quest for Global Health’.
Leprosy is the world’s oldest recorded disease and still persists despite being officially ‘eliminated’ in 2005. The stigma remains a major obstacle to early diagnosis and treatment of this curable disease.
The series will go after people diagnosed and meet those who untreated and now live with the disease forever. From health workers and counsellors, to surgeons and shoe makers; from people who live in leprosy colonies to those who demand more from the Indian government – there is still work being done to support people with leprosy in the poorest regions of India.
The episode follows health hero, Rajni Kant Singh, state coordinator for a leading NGO, as he forges dramatic breakthroughs while tackling the conditions that afflict poor people. “Since Leprosy was declared ‘eliminated’ in India in 2005 it has slipped off the agenda and resources have dried up. Yet the disease persists in India, with some 130 000 new cases a year. These patients need help with diagnosis, treatment and often social and psychological support too”, said Singh.
“Whether through low tech ingenuity, community commitment or the best that modern medical science can offer, these are stories of people, passion and persistence in the triumph of humanity over unbearable suffering. Al Jazeera English believes in keeping people at the core of everything we do. We challenge and empower by telling stories without prejudice, in the most authentic way possible as we believe everyone has a story worth hearing”, says Al Jazeera English award winning Director Brian Tilley.
The episode showcases the work of inspiring people on the frontline of public health and hearing their stories of the dramatic breakthroughs against the disease and its conditions that keep millions of people in poverty.
Tune into Al Jazeera on Dish TV 618 and Tata Sky Channel 533 to catch the premiere of Ancient Enemy on Friday, May 23, 05 30 PM IST