Sue Collins and Mike Hill produced the multi-award winning documentary series, LIFE Before Death, which asks the fundamental question underpinning our mortality.
As documentary filmmakers exploring the issue of untreated pain and palliative care delivery globally, we discovered the extraordinary difference health workers make to patients facing life-limiting illnesses. The quality of care a patient receives at this critical time can have a profound impact on both patients and their families.
When you hear a statistic such as ‘more than 3.3 million people die with untreated moderate or severe pain from cancer and HIV each year’, it’s hard to comprehend what that means for any one individual and those around them. We felt it was vital to communicate that there is a global crisis in untreated pain and a dramatic lack of access to palliative care services – not just in developing countries – but everywhere.
By making a documentary about this humanitarian crisis we have shown both the hardships facing patients with little or no access to pain treatment and the immense hope that comes from good care well delivered. It is much easier to comprehend the weight of a statistic when you can see the realties, the struggle and the triumph. By showing the barriers in accessing these essential services and revealing that this is a crisis that can be solved, our hope is to move individuals into active participation by giving them meaningful calls-to-action.
The film was launched by the Lien Foundation in Singapore on 1 February 2012, with more than 150 hosted screenings in 35+ countries. Initial results have exceeded our expectations; we have had extraordinary testimonials and an unexpectedly welcome outcome from Kitwe Central Hospital in Zambia. Kitwe Central Hospital serves a population of two million people, but has no specialised facility for cancer treatment. For some time they had been trying to start a clinic but the screening of the film struck a cord with the administration and the clinic has now been approved.
We are proud to have been able to make this film. We hope that it will continue to be used for advocacy, education and to support the initiatives of the incredible organisations and individuals across the world fighting for the rights of patients or delivering the care they need. LIFE Before Death consists of a feature film, a 55-minute documentary and 50 short films themed around pain control and palliative care.
More information on the EAPC can be found at www.eapcnet.eu