Invisible Killer


Invisible Killer is an interactive web documentary that tackles the issue of Tuberculosis and MultiDrugResistant TB, the second greatest killer worldwide and the leading cause of death in South Africa.

  • €16,000 Budget in Euros
  • 2015 Final release date
  • 5 Round winner
  • 3 Locations
  • 4 Durations in months

Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2013, an estimated 9 million people developed tuberculosis and 1.5 million men, women and children died from the disease, which heavily affects the most poor and marginalized communities in the world. Africa carried the greatest proportion of new cases per population with 280 cases per 100.000 population in 2013 and, despite the huge progress made over the years to combat this disease, in South Africa TB is still the leading cause of death.

High co-infection with HIV, poor medication adherence and densely populated township communities have led to the dissemination of Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and Extensively Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB) among the population, that occurs when a strain of TB bacteria becomes resistant to two or more "first-line" antibiotic drugs prescribed to combat standard TB. MDR-TB and XDR-TB can only be cured with the use of very expensive and toxic second line drugs, and mortality is up to one third off all the patients.

In South Africa the infections on MDR-TB passed from 2.000 cases in 2005 to 10.000 in 2014, and the country has one of the highest rate of new cases: 20 every 100.000 inhabitants.

The starting point of this narrative will be Khayelitsha a township near Cape Town that has seen a big spread of TB in the last years. From there, with videos, photo essays, interviews, articles and infographics, this project tells the struggles and the hopes of the patients and their families. It highlights how this virus is tightly linked with poverty and precarious living conditions. How is the South African Government fighting this threat and are the policies and the efforts of the international community sufficient to beat it?

The multimedia project Invisible Killer aims to be a journey into TB and its deadliest declinations, from the poorest neighborhood in South Africa, where people die, to Geneva, where lawmakers work to establish policy to try to stop this growing trend. The work will be enriched with data regarding trends, monetary investments in research and forecasts for the future. This will allow the team to report to the public an exhaustive and clear 360° reportage on this underreported topic. All these elements will be designed in a unique interactive scrollytelling platform, visible on any device, with ad hoc infographic, interactive charts and maps in order to provide a seamless experience.

image gallery

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