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WHO jury comprising Nandita Das awards films themed on burnout, ageing, climate change

May 27, 2024 05:15 PM

Geneva ): Indian actor-filmmaker Nandita Das has emphasised on the need to celebrate films that focus on health through a host of issues ranging from war trauma to burnout, climate change, mentall health and healthy ageing.

Nandita, who is part of the jury for the World Health Organization's 5th Health for All Film Festival, announced the winners on the eve of the 77th World Health Assembly that begins on Monday in Geneva.

At an event that also launched WHO's Investment Round, the actor who is part of a panel, which includes names like actor Sharon Stone, announced the winners across seven categories, with four films receiving special mentions from the jury.

The winning entries were selected from over 900 filmmakers from 110 countries who submitted short films, on themes ranging from climate change and refugees to tobacco use and gender-based violence, among others.


"WHO's Health for All Film Festival gathers many powerful stories about a variety of health experiences from people from all over the world," said WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the event on Sunday.

"Listening to the stories of people affected by health issues helps us to understand people's lived experiences and move towards achieving better health for all," he said in a statement released by the UN agency.

Nandita, who has served twice on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival and has acted in more than 40 feature films in 10 different languages, said she was delighted to be a juror for the WHO festival and announce the winners of the 5th edition of the annual event.

"Films can create awareness, challenge prejudices, ask uncomfortable questions and tell stories that need to be told. Health is personally and collectively, our right and responsibility. So to celebrate films that focus on these issues is important," Nandita said.

The theme of mental health featured heavily in this year's winning entries, including a powerful short film from France about the difficulties of supporting a relative diagnosed with a severe disease.

The film depicts a 14-year-old who copes with heavy responsibilities while living alone with her mother, who has cancer.

Another winning film, from Turkiye, captures the survival and recovery of a young Syrian refugee mother in southern Turkiye who spent five days trapped under building rubble in the aftermath of the earthquakes of February 2023.

The film details her rehabilitation progress, including learning to walk again.

From the official selection at the WHO Health for All Film Festival, a "Grand Prix" is awarded in each of the three main competition categories: Universal Health Coverage, Health Emergencies, and Better Health and Well-Being, which align with the WHO's Triple Billion Targets. Additionally, four special prizes were given for a student-produced film, a film on physical activity and health, a film on migrants and refugees health, and a very short film.


Apart from Nandita Das and Sharon Stone, the international jury which picked the winners comprises actor Alfonso Herrera; filmmaker and producer Apolline Traore; Olympic swimmer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Yusra Mardini; multidisciplinary artist Mario Macilau and film director Paul Jerndal.

Meanwhile, the WHO has launched a new 'Investment Round' aiming to raise USD 7 billion of funds. The chief of the 194-member, strong United States agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Sunday said that commitment increases would contribute USD 4 billion to the agency's budget of USD 11.1 billion over the four years from 2025-through 2028.

Taking to his social media platform X, the WHO chief said that the world is facing a difficult time with multiple overlapping challenges of conflict, climate change, displacement, poverty, inequality, polarisation, disease outbreaks, the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions.

"The WHO Investment Round aims to mobilize USD 7 billion dollars over four years to support countries to respond to these challenges," Ghebreyesus posted on X.
Addressing a media briefing last week, the WHO chief stated that the 'Investment Round' is designed to ensure that voluntary contributions, which are currently the majority of the WHO funding, will be more predictable, flexible, and sustainable.

"Our new Investment Case outlines why and how supporting WHO is essential for progress in global health and saving millions of lives. It will be launched on 28 May during the Assembly," Tedros said.

The 77th World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva from May 27 to June 1 with the theme "All for Health, Health for All."
The Investment Round is the result of recommendations by the WHO Working Group on Sustainable Financing and was approved at the 154th Meeting of the WHO Executive Board in January 2024.

It will secure funding for WHO's strategy, the 14th General Programme of Work.
During Sunday's event, Brazil announced that as part of its G20 presidency, the country will host high-level events including at the Leaders' Summit in November to support the Investment Round and rally countries to join the initiative.

Qatar Minister of Health Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari announced a contribution of USD 4 million in fully flexible funds to the Investment Round, and an intention to contribute further.

"Health care is a fundamental human right and we must continue to invest in the World Health Organization to safeguard our health. Unity is the key to our success," Dr Mohamed Al Kuwari said according to statement by WHO.

France, Germany, and Norway announced that they would serve as co-hosts for the Investment Round.
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.

In last week's media briefing, the WHO chief said that during the Assembly, the UN agency will be launching a new global health strategy - developed in partnership with 194 Member States and partners - which sets a course for getting the world back on track to hit the health related-Sustainable Development Goals.

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