Mectizan is a drug created by Merck Pharmaceuticals - and also one of the few examples of a global health initiative that has actually worked.
Mectizan fights the disease onchocerciasis commonly known as River Blindness, which is spread by a migratory black fly species found primarily in central and west Africa and in the Amazon.. Because so many of the individuals affected by the disease could not afford the treatment, and because Mectizan is so effective in helping limit the spread of the disease, Merck pledged to distribute the drug for free - for as long as there was need for it.
For Source of Hope we followed the distribution chain for Mectizan into the far reaches of Mali and Burkina Faso, and saw the effectiveness of its work.
From a filming perspective, it’s never easy traveling off road for hours to spend days at villages with no electricity or safe drinking water. Occasionally our DSR-500 would overheat and shut down (after shooting all day in the sun when the temperature was 120 degrees in the shade) and we would revert to our PD-150 backup camera. Both the people we met and the footage we photographed were truly memorable. The film has received a number of awards, and is viewable in its streaming form on the Merck website.