In the last 5 days we have ventured to the Midlands for screenings in Warwick and Birmingham, back to Scotland for the Medcin Global Health Conference and then back down to the South of England for a screening in Southampton last night! Tonight we are in Bristol,tommorrow in Poole, then back to London for the screening at the Ritzy Cinema on Wednesday night and the LSHTM event on the Friday evening.
Have a read below to see what we have been up to and remember to sign the petition, calling on Anglo Gold Ashanti to PREVENT, FIND and TREAT TB in their minees, if you havnt already.
Day 7: Warwick
We spent the majority of the morning working away in the dining room of our cozy Cambridge lodge. After lunch we headed for the university bubble of Warwick where we teamed up with student hub's members Jo and Harshil. Whilst Saoirse and the student hub's team flyered for the evening's screenings Felix and Jonathan set up camp in the library cafe to work on their respective presentations for Medsin's Global Health Conference on Thursday.
As it was the last day of term the evening's screening was an intimate affair but the audience were engaged and asked lots of interesting questions. We discussed the BCG vaccine- its ineffectiveness in treating TB of the lungs and the progress in developing new vaccines. We also talked about the economic case for the mining companies to implement best practices for dealing with TB in the mines. The World Bank are currently doing a cost-benefit analysis of this situation and have estimated that the mining industry is losing out on around $783 million dollars in terms of treatment for miners who have contracted silicosis and TB; training up new workers to replace those who have become too ill to work; and the money lost in wages to those retrenched miners.
Staying in Birmingham tonight with Felix's old chum.
Day 8: Birmingham
We enjoyed a relaxed day in Birmingham and even had time to wash our socks! In the evening we headed over to the historic Birmingham and Midland's Institute where a jazz concert was underway. We swanned through and headed for the John Lee Lecture theatre where we were met by the Birmingham RESULTS' group leader Cary. The gold velour seating provided a comfy atmosphere for the screening. Cary did a great job in publicising the event and we were joined by other members of the RESULTS group as well as members of the Big Lottery Fund.
We had a very interesting Q and A afterwards and talked a lot about the role of civil society in both Southern Africa and the UK in creating the political will to help control the epidemic. One audience member asked about how they can stay informed about the campaign and its developments - for those of you who do want to keep up-to-date with are progressing you can sign up to our DYING FOR GOLD newsletter for all the latest info, just click the link on the website www.dyingforgold.co.uk
That's it for now, off to Glasgow- the land of Iron Bru!
Day 9: Glasgow
Today we have been at the Medsin Global Health Conference in Glasgow. Jonathan gave an excellent plenary in the morning and felt right at home as a teacher in front of a class. To view slides from the presentation click here.The theme of the conference was migration and health so the issue of migrant labour within TB and mining meant the lecture was right on point.
After watching Jonathan's talk, Felix and Saoirse teamed up with Laura, leader of the RESULTS' Glasgow group, and set up the DYING FOR GOLD stall in the 'ideas cafe' area. People were really interested in the stall, especially after Jonathan's lecture and workshop and we had lots of excellent in-depth discussions about the issue. We got over 100 action cards signed and met a number of people who were interested in showing the documentary at their respective universities.
In the afternoon, Felix took to the stage to take part in a panel discussion about access to health for migrants and asylum seekers joined by Sir Kenneth Calman and Scottish UKIP treasurer Dr. Jon Stanley. It was a lively discussion with lots of interesting questions raised such as why UK citizens who live in foreign countries are not referred to as 'migrants'- as all non-UK citizens living in other countries are, but rather as 'ex-pats'. Felix was the expert on advocacy on the panel and spoke about the things students and volunteers can do to change the negative perceptions of migrants in the UK and address the prejudices they face.
After some quiet time back at the hotel we headed back to the conference to attend the cailadh and cut-loose before the next week of the tour.
Day 10: Southampton
Getting up early after the cailadh was a challenge to say the least, luckily Saoirse and Jonathan just had to catch a flight down to Southampton but Felix faced a 7 hour drive down South. He endured heavy snow storms driving through Cumbria but arrived safe and hungry at Southampton University. We knew that term was over and being a Sunday we weren't expecting great numbers so we were very surprised and incredibly happy when over 60 people turned up!
This was all thanks to the stellar efforts of joint Medsin leaders Tom and Megan who had done some excellent work in publicising the event and providing a delicious spread of cheese, bread and fruits for the punters. You guys are the current champion holders in the snack department, well done, you made hungry Felix a very happy man! The Q and A was great with some high level questions from the mainly medical student audience and people were keen to sign action cards and show their support for the campaign.
The tired TGTD team returned to Saoirse's mama's house for some home cookin' and hit the hey ready to set sail for Bristol the next day.