Bucharest (Romania), Haemophilia A

David Banu is just like any other eight-year old who loves to play and run around. The only thing stopping him is haemophilia, which has now made the whole family dependent on a donation that might or might not come.

”I have never met such an energetic, lively and vivacious person,” says Goran Kapetanovic, the director behind the film about David Banu.
“Since I knew that he had a heart condition and had been through several difficult surgeries, I was expecting someone bedridden without much contact with the world. Instead I met this kid with an incredible zest for life who, despite his eight years, felt made me feel like he was an adult.”

They meet in a rainy Bucharest. Goran Kapetanovic takes a taxi through a city in change, where socialism meets new waves of capitalism, to an apartment building in a typical middle class area. Several stairs up he walks through a long dark corridor, leading up to David’s door.

“He kept jumping around and at first I was extremely scared that he would fall and hurt himself. But then I realized that this was the way it had to be. He wanted to feel like any other kid,” says Goran Kapetanovic.

David Banu has a mild form of haemophilia A, which is the reason why he has been denied prophylaxis – which is treatment to prevent bleeding. Instead he has to receive blood donations from Germany.

”This is a typical example of someone stuck in bureaucracy. Since they don’t know how long the donation will continue the situation becomes an enormous struggle and strain for the whole family,” says Goran Kapetanovic, who particularly noticed David’s mother’s frustration and resignation.

”Imagine feeling that your own country let you down, forcing you to go elsewhere for help. As a parent you want to do everything you can for your child, but in this case it’s impossible because of the way society is structured.”

We are waiting for help

One of the people working to influence the government to change the flaws in the Romanian health care system is Daniel Andrei, the president of the Romanian Haemophilia Association. He was the reason why Goran and David’s family met.

“His way of explaining the problems in Romania was a great help in my work. Daniel himself has suffered a lot from haemophilia, and it’s fascinating how someone can be so open with his experiences and have the strength to share. I’m amazed that there are such enthusiasts in the world who keep on fighting.”

For Goran Kapetanovic, who is a father of two small girls, the film about David Banu was the hardest one to make.

“On the one hand he is the most alive child you will meet, but still you know that there is a lot more hiding under the surface,” he says.

“I have noticed that children who live with this disease are more mature and stable than many adults. David knows how much his family has been affected and he can reason in a way that no eight-year old should have to.”

How is David today?

”I actually don’t know. I think about him now and then and what will happen when the donation ends. It’s very tragic that your birthplace decides which health care you will receive.”

Imagine feeling that your own country let you down, forcing you to go elsewhere for help.