June 28, 2017

Event Report: “Unseen Enemy” Screening and Panel Discussion

From left: Hiroyoshi Endo (Dean, Graduate School of Public Health, St.Luke’s International University, Graduate School of Public Health), Janet Tobias (Director, Producer, and Writer), Peter Piot (Director and Professor of Global Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Naoko Yamamoto (Assistant Minister for Global Health, Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare)


On June 1, 2017, the GHIT Fund held a screening of “Unseen Enemy,” a documentary film produced by CNN, together with the St. Luke’s Graduate School of Public Health and released in April of this year, followed by a panel discussion with the film’s Director and key global health leaders. Examining the recent epidemics of Ebola, Influenza, and Zika, the film explores the lurking viruses that may create the next global disease pandemic while showing how our modern lifestyle may be responsible for perpetuating these lethal viruses—and how everyday citizens can fight back. The event, which served as the film’s Japanese premiere, drew a full house, attracting students, researchers, scientists, industry executives, and non-profit executives alike.


Professor Hiroyoshi Endo, Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at St. Luke’s International University, moderated the panel discussion. Speakers included Ms. Janet Tobias, Director of “Unseen Enemy,” Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Vice Chair of GHIT Fund, and Dr. Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Minister for Global Health in the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Prof. Piot discovered the Ebola virus and also appeared in the film.


Ms. Tobias shared background on the production of “Unseen Enemy,” which focuses on how global urbanization, population growth and migration, climate change, and other issues all impact the occurrence and spread of infectious diseases. She also highlighted the importance of innovation, science, and technology to address these global health concerns. Professor Piot pointed out that emerging and reemerging infectious diseases will persist as major global threats and that their prevention and mitigation is as critical as it is challenging. Dr. Yamamoto emphasized that Japan-led discussions on global health at the G7/G8 Summit and other international conferences have introduced Japan’s proactive efforts and initiatives in the area of global health R&D.


At the conclusion of the discussion, the panelists all expressed their profound respect for medical workers, such as doctors and nurses fighting the Ebola crisis in the film, and expressed great expectations for the next generation of leaders who will contribute to global health in the future.