As part of CABI's work on the UK Department for International Development's Research for Development portal, I recently found that one of the projects to which DFID had contributed provided links to some television programmes about malaria, available on the website of Rockhopper TV. I then discovered that the same site contained well over 100 programmes, many of them very relevant to CABI's areas of interest.

Rockhopper are a company who make documentary programmes specialising in development, science and the environment, often but not exclusively for BBC World. The oldest programmes on the website are from 2003, and the latest ones from 2008; most were made available on the site in 2008. The largest single series is Kill or Cure?, of which there are fifty 25-minute episodes screened between 2004 and 2007, each about one disease, group of diseases or aspect of a disease; health subjects, especially infectious diseases which have most of their impact in developing countries, predominate among the other programmes such as the recent Survival series. All the programmes are freely available to be watched over the Internet.

Experts may not learn much from these programmes that they don't know already, but anyone else interested in the world around them will probably find them very informative. I find it interesting to see film of things I usually only encounter as names or occasional pictures in scientific journal articles. Among these is the Guinea worm that I wrote about in my previous blog entry; a programme filmed in southern Sudan (one of the remaining strongholds of the disease) and originally broadcast in 2005 illustrates the problems caused by this parasite, the measures that have helped to make its eradication look a realistic idea, and the difficulties of clearing it from areas where it still remains. If you want to see why the extinction of the Guinea worm will be welcomed, or what one looks like as it's being wound round a stick to remove it from somebody's leg, this is the place to look.

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