Segments in this Video

Tigray, Ethiopia (05:11)


Tserie, age 30, came to the hospital after laboring for 24 hours to give birth. Doctors must perform a cesarean section; the fetus is dead. A doctor discusses society's inability to acknowledge the risks of pregnancy.

Shada— Cap Haitien, Haiti (03:41)

Philomene Jocien Gracias, aka Madam Bwa, is a traditional birth attendant (TBA); she has delivered approximately 12,000 babies. Madam Bwa examines Madam Marc, age 40 and predicts she will give birth this week.

Shada Slums (02:17)

In Haiti, 1 in 44 women die from childbirth-related causes. Madam Bwa discusses the difficulties residents face and recalls 10 pregnant women eating dirt.

Battambang Province, Cambodia (03:17)

In Cambodia, 1 in 48 women die from childbirth-related causes. Pum Mach is a midwife at the Tasanh Health Center.

Pregnancy Complication (04:01)

Mach was a midwife in her community before working at Tasanh Health Center; she examines Peum, age 19. Peum must get to Battambang to undergo a cesarean section; the health center no longer has ambulances.

Adigrath Hospital (03:33)

In Ethiopia, 1 in 27 women die from childbirth-related causes. Goitom Berhane examines pregnant patients and breastfeeding mothers; he is concerned about pregnancy related deaths.

Delivery Complications (02:48)

Berhane examines a 20-year-old patient who arrived at the hospital 12 days after giving birth; she was unable to deliver the placenta. The medical team had to remove part of her uterus because it was gangrenous. Berhane states that every day 55 women die from childbirth-related causes.

Death from Childbirth Complications (03:14)

Yeang Yul cares for his three children after his wife died in childbirth. The TBA tried to deliver the placenta but was unable. Yul recalls preparing his wife's body.

"Three Delays" (04:43)

Berhane discusses the three determinants in maternal care. Madam Bwa discusses pregnancy and birth control with a group of local women. She asks politicians to bring back health agents.

Maternal Mortality Awareness (02:34)

Berhane discusses implementing activities to reduce maternal mortality in Ethiopia; 85% of the population lives in rural areas. Hirity Belay is a health extension worker. She discusses meeting patients in rural areas.

Rural Pregnancy Care (02:59)

Belay examines a pregnant woman, telling her about vaccinations and the risks of delivering at home; childbirth related issues are the leading cause of death among women. Belay examines pregnant women and newborns.

Educating Pregnant Women (02:04)

Belay examines women and their babies, administering vaccinations and birth control shots. She discusses their traditional thinking about nutrition and building rapport.

Chain of Survival Program (03:37)

Minefields surround the boundaries of the Samlot District posing danger for some who travel to the Tasanh Health Center. Mach and Houy Chandy accompany Peum to Battambang so she can have a cesarean section.

Cesarean Delivery (03:34)

See surgeons perform a cesarean section on Peum. The baby weighs 2.6 pounds and is very weak; she died later that night.

Tserie's Baby is Alive (03:51)

Tserie gave birth to a boy at the Adigrath Hospital. The doctors delivered him cesarean section and were able to resuscitate him. Berhane warns Tserie and her husband not to have any more children.

Emergency Cesarean (05:02)

Se'eda, age 30, experiences difficulty giving birth and Berhane and his team perform a cesarean section to deliver the dead fetus.

Rural Delivery (01:54)

Se'eda's first baby also died in the womb. Her family carried her on a stretcher for four hours to the hospital to deliver her second baby.

Raising a Child in Poverty (04:31)

Madam Bwa visits a young mother; her baby is thin. She encourages the mother to ask neighbors to help her find milk for the baby. Madam Bwa explains the mother's situation.

New Mothers in Shada (03:34)

Madam Bwa visits a nursing mother who does not feel well; the baby also has a fever. Later she attends Madam Marc who gives birth but is unable to deliver the placenta. At midnight, a car arrives to take Marc to the hospital.

Successful Delivery (02:23)

Medical personnel give Madam Marc Pitocin to release the placenta. Back at home, Marc, her husband and Madam Bwa admire the newborn baby.

Tasanh Health Center (05:01)

Children play in the mud outside the health center where two women wait to give birth. Seth, age 26, successfully delivers a healthy baby boy.

Possible Placental Abruption (04:27)

Tekien, age 34, has been in labor for 34 hours and is experiencing bleeding; the fetus is deep transverse arrest. Berhane orders a cesarean section.

Supporting Mothers (04:20)

Berhane encourages Tekien to breastfeed; he discusses childbirth-related deaths. Madam Bwa is proud of her community despite the poverty. Mach and Belay care for the women in their community.

Credits: Sister (02:32)

Credits: Sister

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Madam Bwa has never been trained, but she's delivered over 12,000 babies. She works on filthy floors and in crowded slums, while her mothers-to-be eat dirt to survive. From Ethiopia to Cambodia to Haiti, across the Third World life lies in fragile hands. In this beautiful doc the difficulties of childbirth are laid bare and the strategies to improve maternal health and mortality rates are explored with an affecting clarity. An intimate portrait of a global crisis.

Length: 86 minutes

Item#: BVL118392

ISBN: 978-1-63521-504-5

Copyright date: ©2013

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