A couple of weeks back I asked for prayers for an NBC news team coming to Recife to do a report on the Zika virus. Recife has had an alarming number of newborns with microcephaly as a result of Zika infections during the mother’s pregnancy.
This was the first time I assisted a news team here in Recife. They were a really special group of people. NBC’s medical producer Jane Derenowski, reporter Rehema Ellis, as well as producers Steven Louie, Maria Martha Bruno, cinematographer Carlos Rigau and sound engineer Felipe Leon were all very competent and sensitive professionals.
In the middle of all their reporting, producer Jane Derenowski made it a point to visit our Sunday worship service. You can see the resulting report below.
Click on the image below to watch the report.
During their stay here my sister-in-law Flavia was able to connect the NBC team with the IMIP medical institute and hospital where she works as a doctor and also teaches as part of their medical faculty. Flavia herself only appears briefly, though she was instrumental in connecting the news team with several other medical professionals and patients. You’ll see her on the left in her office at about the 1:15 mark in the report “Caring for Victims in the Epicenter of the Outbreak” along with a family with a baby born with microcephaly.
My experience with the NBC news team was that they were a very sensitive and caring group of professionals here to shed light on a serious health topic. The Public Relations liaison from the hospital later told me NBC’s team was by far the most courteous, sensitive, and professional of all the many news teams in Recife (and there were at least a half dozen just that week).
I believe it’s attributable to the reporting of NBC and others that the World Health Organization subsequently declared Zika a global health emergency and the U.S. president has asked Congress for 1.8 billion dollars in emergency funding to combat Zika. It’s a serious health issue and one that is going to leave a long term impact in countries like Brazil. It’s important that it’s been given the attention news media like NBC have given it.
Please be praying for medical advances in treating Zika. Pray especially for Ana Paula, the young woman they interviewed from our Street Church. She’s showing signs of Zika infection and two months pregnant, which is the period of highest risk for microcephaly. Pray also for our ministry as we try to help our homeless friends and those living in favelas in preparing for and dealing with this serious health issue.