This film (approximately five minutes in length) was made during my coverage of the ‘Yaws’ disease story on remote Lihir Island and Namatanai New Ireland in Papua New Guinea for the highly respected academic journal ‘Science’. The film is a compilation of many of the still images and video segments that I made whist working with ‘Science’ magazines Amsterdam based International News Editor Martin Enserink. The story also ran in the print edition journal on the 20th July 2018 with my still images gracing the cover and six inside pages.
Also delighted with the five minute online film crafted by ‘Science’ journal’s Sarah Crespi using many more of my still Images combined with video segments that I made on the islands which may be found here … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ianST_B1_CA and also below (bottom).
Martin’s excellent story tells of the work of a (thoroughly engaging) young Catalan doctor, Oriol Mitjà, who has dedicated his practice to the eradication of the tropical bacterial skin disease Yaws which, if left untreated, can disfigure the skin and bones causing lifelong pain and disability. The disease is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum (a close relative of that which causes syphilis) and spreads primarily through skin contact, mostly between children.
Martin and I travelled to Lihir in the Bismarck Archipelago in remote north east Papua New Guinea where we met Oriol and crew before a two hour Pacific Ocean crossing to Namatanai in New Ireland. Our visit coincided with the start of Oriol’s latest attempt at Yaws eradication … the first round of the mass medication of the entire 60,000 population of Namatanai with the oral antibiotic azithromycin. An epic challenge indeed … but such is Oriol’s single-mindedness he is determined to succeed with his plan to see the end of Yaws … and for it to become only the second human disease in history to be eradicated after smallpox in 1980.
The subject of my cover photo (top, below) … fifteen year old Stanis Malom … lives in the tiny village of Tumbuapil on Lihir Island. His severe Yaws infection has impacted the integrity of the bones in his leg and he also now has an open wound the size of a tennis ball. He no longer attends school … the stigma is too much.