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Global Pandemics are the Unseen Enemy in a Battle Without Borders

We live in world that is increasingly more connected.

17201073_755634207937920_5773479724868255787_nThe film Unseen Enemy, which will air on World Health Day, Friday, April 7th on CNN (10pm ET/7pm PT), explores this global connectivity and how it relates to the threat of emerging infectious diseases.  It extends beyond the role of global health leaders and calls upon individuals to take actions that can help improve the health of our communities and our world.

To set the stage, the film takes viewers on a journey across continents to explore large-scale disease outbreaks such as Ebola, influenza and Zika. It honors both patients and healthcare workers who have endured challenging circumstances, and often risked their lives, in the fight against infectious diseases. It also warns about emerging threats, where they may come from and what we should be doing to prepare.

In interviews with various researchers, the film provides a glimpse of the issues that global health leaders are working to solve.

How will we keep one step ahead in the fight against viruses and epidemics?  Where are the global hotspots where these diseases may emerge? How can healthcare workers, scientists, businesses, NGOs and governments work together to ensure that we are prepared for the next invisible threat? What are the possibilities that these threats will come in the form of viruses, laboratory mistakes or acts of bioterrorism?  

The film certainly emphasizes the need for global preparedness, but it also calls upon individual viewers to take action.  The power of the people exists in how we share valuable information, how we support key public health stakeholders around the world, and how we mobilize leaders to adequately prepare for emerging threats now, before it is too late.

It Takes All Of Us

Stopping an outbreak will require us all to work together, for the benefit of everyone.  Janet Tobias, who served as a director, producer and writer of the film, explains how working on Unseen Enemy provided her with a new perspective about our personal roles in public health.

“I walked away from working on this film with a deep understanding that what I do affects the people around me, everyone from loved ones to passers-by. I could sit next to a child, a grand-mother, a man undergoing cancer treatment and give them the flu (or any other disease) and hospitalize or kill them without even knowing it. Each of us have a role to play, and it won’t work unless we all contribute.”

Tobias isn’t just an Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, she has also had a parallel career in medicine and technology, serving as an adjunct assistant professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a research professor of Global Public Health at NYU. She explains that if we are to become a world that is resilient to emergent threats, than we must inspire people to start by taking personal actions.

“One of the things that surprised me the most during the making of this film was just how easy it has become for anyone to become involved in the fight against epidemics. The choices we make by staying at home when we are sick, by washing our hands, by getting the right vaccinations, and relying on trustworthy informational sources are what make the difference between sickness and health for ourselves, our families, and our communities.” 

17546841_771745836326757_5937625539193517426_o.jpgIn our efforts to promote evidence based information on immunization issues, and to inspire individuals to take actions to support public health, we are excited about the airing of Unseen Enemy on CNN on World Health Day, April 7th at 10pm ET/7 pm PT.

To learn more about this project, and the individuals and organizations who contributed to the film, follow the It Takes All of Us Facebook page and @ItTakesAllofUs ‏ Twitter account.

After you view the film post a comment to share what surprised you, concerned you or inspired you.  We will be watching and following the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #UnseenEnemy.  

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