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Survival: Lives In The Balance: Distant Places, Forgotten Lives (Niger)

Airs Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: In a remote village of Niger, a doctor checks the eyes of children for signs of the blinding disease trachoma.

Millions of people in the developing world, mostly children, die each year from treatable and preventable diseases. Slowly, that is beginning to change as economic growth lifts hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty and the circumstances known to perpetuate disease.

Children playing in the water. Dangerous parasites lurk in the waters of Niger, a natural playground for the nation's children.
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Above: Children playing in the water. Dangerous parasites lurk in the waters of Niger, a natural playground for the nation's children.

"Survival: Lives In The Balance" is a landmark documentary series about global health. Four one-hour films take viewers into villages in the Philippines, Uganda, Niger and Bangladesh, where people suffer from diseases and conditions long since conquered in other parts of the world. Cameras following subjects from pregnancy to birth, through the formative years of a child's development and into adulthood to capture the pain of loss and witness the triumph of hope.

Distant Places, Forgotten Lives, Niger:

Tropical diseases threaten a billion people in the world today. Most of those people live in countries that do not have the resources to combat these diseases. In a striking move, a group of pharmaceutical companies pledged to donate enough drugs to target five tropical diseases that affect tens of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. They then faced a dilemma: how to effectively deliver these drugs to millions of people. The elegant solution came from the people themselves. Community leaders appointed trusted individuals to receive training to distribute the medicines. The drugs are safe and can be administered widely to at-risk groups. The plan works, but only buys time until better sanitation and safer housing allow the people in these villages to live healthier lives.

Watch videos from this series online.