Iraq’s Nursing Sector and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Organisation size: Big
Publication date: 26/04/2021
Credit: Report, edit (production, draw the data and translation), and idea via mobile phone by Farah Adnan, draw animation by Malath Salam
Farah Adnan, a freelance journalist and filmmaker based in Baghdad. Holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Media/Journalism Department/University of Baghdad. For nearly 10 years, I have been working in the field of journalism of all kinds, and entered several workshops in the field of filmmaking and directed a short cinematic film entitled ‘Farah’ in 2019. Recently, won one of the Internews Awards directed to Iraqi women journalists for the best national coverage of women’s rights 2021, and one of the finalists for the Humanitarian Journalist Award in 2021, Launched by AidEX Brussels institution for journalists around the world.
Using the language of numbers and listening to testimonies, found that Iraq, including Kurdistan, suffers from a shortage of nursing staff under the shadow of Corona pandemic, and after research and investigation, it became clear that the shortage has affected the medical staff and preventive supplies as well, which led to suffering and poor regulation. Work is a short video that I made entirely on a mobile phone and used static animation in collaboration with a painter to make the data appear in a different and innovative way. The video published on Raseef22, after I won a grant from Internews.
The video I made about the reality of nursing in Iraq, including the Kurdistan, in the shadow of the Corona pandemic, I wanted to make animation in the form of static images and to show the language of numbers or data with animation in a different way and I made them completely via the mobile phone, so that the information and numbers I reached, including information and numbers that have not been published elsewhere, to several categories of the public from Arabic and English speakers inside and outside Iraq, including the audience under the age of 18, because the world today is still suffering from the pandemic, so any topic related to this epidemic and in which country will be the focus of everyone’s attention, and it is important that the journalist’s message reaches different audiences.
After publishing the video in both Arabic and English on Raseef22, at the end of April 2021, I found the impact of the topic not only on the concerned authorities or the public, but on fellow journalists such as Sudan and Lebanon. They contacted me to tell me that the idea of the topic and how the topic was presented differently inspired them to make different reports or investigations on the reality of nursing, but in their countries.
In addition, I always say that the journalist does not have a magic stick to change the entire world for the better, but the journalist’s continued communicating the voice of the voiceless and drawing the attention of those in power to several issues while finding solutions, this in itself will gradually change the reality towards better.
The impact of any journalistic topic may appear after months or a year, but what is important is that the journalist continues to cover pressing issues in our world today.
Because I am a mobile user in the industry and covers a lot of events, so most of the free tools and techniques I used are on my mobile phone.
Used the iPhone to make the video, and used the (VN) program, which is one of my favorite and free programs for making videos and it gives you free graphics, images and visual forms of data in a wonderful and different way.
At first I drew the idea that I had in my mind on a paper and how I wanted the photos, colors and shapes of nurses, doctors, preventive supplies, the hospital…etc. After that, I contacted a painter from Baghdad and cooperated with her to draw the idea in my mind in the form of a fixed animation.
After she sent me the animation images, I edited and produced the entire video via iPhone via VN, and arranged the animation and the language of numbers in a different visual way.
As for the audio, also needed some video editing tools that were not available on (VN), so I used Adobe Audition for audio and Adobe Premiere on a laptop, and then I worked, edited and produced all the videos in a different visual way via iPhone.
As for the music, used some of the free music available in the (Free Sound) program.
As for the data, I used the Excel to analyze and filter the numbers that I received from several official bodies, General Secretariat of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, Human Rights Organization, and some open sources.
Edited and produced the entire video once in Arabic and then translated it into English on the same program (VN), and edited the video in high quality using the formats:
The duration of the video is 10:58
What was the hardest part of this project?
Before I presented the proposal, wrote on a paper the difficulties that I might encounter and how I could solve them.
I’m a freelance journalist and filmmaker, so the thing I needed to do the work to the fullest was the financial support. I read about the emergency grant that Internews provided to journalists around the world to work on stories about the pandemic directly I submitted the proposal and then I won the grant.
One of the problems in Iraq is the frequent power outages, and consequently, the weakness of the internet and the alternative networks and the internet in general is not as fast as the strong in Iraq, so almost every week I pay alternative expenses for the internet and electricity so that I can complete the video on the mobile phone because the images and clips need to be uploaded and sent, in addition to the expenses I paid to the painter to draw the idea and transportation expenses and some tools for the mobile phone, because my idea is based on animation.
On the other hand, verification took me nearly a year to implement the work, because there is a problem in the Arab region in general, which is the lack of statistics for many cases.
Because the story depends on the data, so some of the private sources that I contacted in the health departments in Baghdad and Kurdistan, and some of them refused to reveal their names, had to wait, for example, for a month or more, to calculate the full numbers that I needed.
But in the end I was able to take information and numbers, and even official bodies in the General Secretariat of the Iraqi Council of Ministers sent me via email statistics I needed that were not published elsewhere.
What can others learn from this project?
The journalist’s message must reach all audiences, even to the non-Arabic speaking, because technology has made it easier for journalists to make their work in a different and more innovative way.
Young people today, and generations younger than 18, also have political and social aspirations and interests, etc., due to this technology, but the journalist must know how to properly communicate the issue they are covering to this generation.
The point of my words is that it is possible for journalists to learn from this project that when you think more thus a story will be reaches, and the information, facts and data in a form that has innovation and a different style will attract the attention of many groups of the public, especially young people who have a great ability now to change many situations, starting with social media and to the occurrence of revolutions and demonstrations on the ground.
The journalist must have a message and a case, but they must cover the issue in a professional, impartial and objective manner and not impose their opinion on the public, in order to reveal the facts to the people and draw the attention of those in power to adopt more laws and legislation that enhance human dignity and freedoms.
Also, the journalists can learn from this project by searching for ideas and issues that are rarely addressed, and when they are addressed, they are not covered in a boring way. Therefore, the journalist must research and delve deeper in order to convey the voice of those who have no voice.
In the end, no matter how much we learn from each other, it is important for each journalist to have their own ideas and their own stamp that they want to convey in a different way to the audience.