POWER AS PATHOLOGY follows the African continent's growing momentum to establish equity in outbreak responses, despite continued exclusion from cutting-edge pharmaceuticals in the face of increasing health security threats. Decades of Global North biomedical research in African nations left little benefit to the continent’s fragile public health systems. However, West Africa stitched a silver lining into their 2014 Ebola response by innovating outbreak responses and improving healthcare systems. Soon after, all 55 African nations formed a united health agency. When the coronavirus pandemic swelled in 2020, unique expert knowledge and memories from the epicentres of previous disease outbreaks proved critical to social responses. 2014 Time person of the year, Mosoka Fallah, reignites community-driven public health campaigns that rolled back Ebola. Africa CDC teams, led by Cameroonian virologist John Nkengasong, test every spectator at African Football’s AFCON final. Senegal rolls out a world-class rapid test network while Nigerian activists message about COVID-19 with art and music. Vaccine nationalism among wealthy nations prompts a united front among African scientists and leaders in decrying unjust global vaccine inequities and in taking action. An African billionaire steps up and negotiates the purchase of life-saving jabs, while South Africa deploys reverse engineering mRNA technology to begin vaccine production. 'Power As Pathology' tracks innovative collaborations to prepare tech transfer hubs, manufacturing sites and distribution networks to supply next-generation vaccines in Africa for Africa.
As filmmakers, we were struck by how COVID-19 upended long-established narratives that perceive Africa as a hot zone of emerging diseases with the potential to threaten global health security. We are excited to film the story of 55 African nations uniting under one public health agency to stitch a silver lining into their collective COVID-19 experience and implement a public health response tailored to the specific needs of the African continent.