Time of Pandemics

Rehad Desai, Tricia Hlongwe

Eye-opening documentary about the need for a fairer global distribution of medicines and health care. Documentary makers Rehad Desai and Tricia Hlongwe followed the clinical trial for an HIV vaccine in South Africa, when Covid-19 hit. Their film serves as a warning: how prepared are we for what’s to come?

‘Planet Earth is now better known as Planet Farm,’ an evolutionary biologist says at the beginning of Time of Pandemics, the insightful documentary by Rehad Desai (Miners Shot Down and Everything Must Fall) and co-director Tricia Hlongwe. Because we have exhausted the planet so thoroughly, ‘zoonotic’ viruses – which have jumped from animals to humans, such as HIV and Covid – are occurring more and more. And partly because markets determine who gets access to medicines, future pandemics will be increasingly difficult to contain.

It takes political will to provide people with access to the medicines they need. But it is a complicated battle, and the financial interests are sky high. Should we start treating health care as a basic right again? Filled with news footage and interviews with experts, researchers, activists, and patients who passionately highlight the problems and the way forward.


Rehad Desai, Tricia Hlongwe
Anita Khanna, Rehad Desai
Country of production
South Africa
87 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Uhuru Productions
World Sales
Deckert Distribution