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They travel around the globe to care and to cure, dare to enter crisis zones, and repeatedly put themselves in danger as they carry out their missions: the people from ‘Doctors without Borders.’ Who are these men and women? What do they think? What do they feel? ‘Dedicated to Life’ gives an insight into the reality of their lives between home and the frontline.
Images of their work are regularly broadcast around the world: surgeons operating on severely injured patients in makeshift ERs, nutrition experts saving starving children from certain death, logistics specialists navigating tons of supplies and equipment through difficult terrain. They are part of ‘Doctors without Borders’ – an organization that has been providing emergency medical assistance for more than 40 years. And they do this in areas where no one else dares to go, where there is no functioning health care system or adequate supply of medication. This international organization would get nowhere without its staff.
Maarten is currently the only doctor on-site in a refugee camp in South Sudan, where more than 40,000 people are living under poor hygienic conditions. “It teaches you to be humble, it teaches you to be thankful for the things you actually have,” he reflects as he recalls his battle against a recent outbreak of hepatitis E. “Frankly, I prevent people from eating [feces],” says Erik, a civil engineer and water technician, as he sums up his work with a smile. He is responsible for ensuring a functioning supply of drinking water in an even bigger camp. ‘Dedicated to Life’ portrays the lives of these doctors, engineers, nurses, logistics experts, and a host of other support personnel as they really are: no pathos, no clichés, no hero cult. As the experienced project coordinator, Renate says, “We are not looking for heroes – just be yourself, be professional and make every moment of it count.”
‘Dedicated to Life’ is absolutely authentic, showing real people, real relationships, and real challenges. Boundaries blur, and after just a few minutes, viewers find themselves in the midst of a camp, side by side with an experienced doctor, a rookie, or a logistics specialist, sharing their joys and sorrows, intimate moments, and great triumphs in the fight against suffering.
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