Filmmaker wins Tuberculosis Survival Prize
28 October 2011 - Lille, France - Epidemiologist and filmmaker Jonathan Smith was awarded the Tuberculosis Survival Prize for his documentary and website highlighting the plight of miners in South Africa affected by HIV and tuberculosis (TB).
The annual award is given by the Tuberculosis Survival Project, with support from the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership.
Mr. Smith, an epidemiologist and lecturer at Yale University, began working on the video documentary - called They Go to Die - while conducting epidemiological research on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the mining industry. He spent several months living with four miners infected with TB and HIV.
The TB Survival Project entries were reviewed by a jury headed by Nobel peace laureate, Betty Williams. Ms. Williams said Mr. Smith was awarded the prize because of the inspirational effort he made to tell the miners’ story to a wider audience.
"Mr. Smith was courageous and humble to look beyond his scientific background of quantifying disease, to find the faces behind the illness. He has made a moving and inspirational account of the experiences of his friends, working in the mines, to remind us of the people behind the numbers. He reminds us that we need to continue to look at the humanity of disease to find effective solutions," said Ms. Williams.
The Tuberculosis Survival Project was launched in 2006 to raise awareness and provide information about TB/MDR-TB. It offers a peer support service and a web-based facility for people to share their own experience of having TB/MDR-TB. The TB Survival Project also produces self-help publications for those on the TB treatment journey. For more information, click here.