Could you imagine having to walk 5 miles to the closest clinic with a midwife that could deliver your baby, only to be told that they cannot help you and you would either need $30 to catch a ride to the closest hospital over an hour away, or go home to possibly die during childbirth?
This is the reality for one mother, Janet who lives in Tanzania, in the documentary film No Woman No Cry by Christy Turlington which is currently airing on the OWN Network. In the end Janet is able to make it to the hospital, but only because the film crew stepped in and provided the fee to help get this mother to the hospital and possibly save her life. Sadly it is clear that if she was left to labor she would have most likely died at the clinic, or at home without simple medical care. This would have been a preventable death, like 90% of the maternal mortalities that still take place today, all over the world.
The documentary follows women in countries all over the world including Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Guatemala to show how childbirth and maternity care is being handled in other parts of the world, also touching on how religion and culture impacts women and the care that they opt for.
An example includes the woman in Bangladesh who opted for a untrained birth professional to deliver her baby at home because of the shame involved with birthing, as well as the embarrassment. Unfortunately she still have to leave to go to the hospital in the middle of the night with very little options for travel because most of the city was sleeping. This happens more often than not, despite many campaigns in the area to have women opt for trained medical professionals to deliver their babies, even if they do decide to birth at home.
Sadly the United States is backwards when it comes to our care. For most of these women in other parts of the world, the care is available for free, if they can physically get to it. Here in the United States women are opting out of care because they cannot afford it, or do not have medical insurance coverage for prenatal care.
To watch the film in full, you can view it on Youtube for the next week but I do highly suggest all women take the time to check it out!
Looking Ahead: Maternal Healthcare in America