Update from the filmmakers, Karin Falck and Loui Bernal: After the 2008 broadcast of Birth of a Surgeon, many viewers asked us how they could help the Rural Hospital of Manjacaze where Emilia does her final internship in the film. We wanted to try to replace the faulty diesel generator the hospital relied on during electricity blackouts. But a new generator would be prohibitively expensive, so we chose to purchase and install a battery backup that would last for one hour in the operating room.
Viewers donated $2,000 which we deposited in a bank account we set up with the grassroots organization, Africa Groups of Sweden. Then in April 2009 we received an additional $2,000 when we won the Overseas Press Club’s Carl Spielvogel Award. When we went back to film WIDE ANGLE’s follow-up interview with Emilia, we decided that would be the perfect time to fix the generator. Loui wrote letters to several generator manufacturers and asked them to contribute to the project. A South African company, Plan My Power, responded and gave us a battery charger and batteries for below retail price!
The hospital’s electrician installed the battery with help from our friend, Sven Grip. A local man built a cage to safeguard the installation. Now if there is a power failure during an operation, the hospital workers have one hour to finish. We thank you all for your wonderful engagement in the film and the reality behind it.
Click on the video below to see the installation.