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ViewChange: The Mothers Index
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ViewChange: The Mothers Index
Being a new mom is rewarding and challenging. But what extra burdens do mothers in poor and rural communities face? Take a tour of the world's best and worst places to be a mom, in this report from Save the Children and ViewChange.org.
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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Next up: an all-new mother's day special. Being a new mom is rewarding and challenging -- but what extra burdens do mothers in poorer countries face? Come take a tour of the world's best and worst places to be a mom, in this new report from Save the Children and ViewChange.org.
VOICEOVER
ViewChange is about people making real progress in tackling the world's toughest issues. Can a story change the world? See for yourself in ViewChange: The Mothers Index.
VOICEOVER
You've heard the term "lottery of birth." More often than not, children born in rich countries win it, while those in poor countries lose. A child's life expectancy, health, education, and so much more hinges on where he or she happens to enter the world. But there's also a lottery of motherhood, and expectant moms in developing countries are facing the toughest odds. Every year, more than 350,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth -- most, simply because they don't have access to basic delivery care.
WOMAN
Push hard!
VOICEOVER
And the ripple effect is dramatic: when a mother dies, her children are more likely to be poor, more likely to die before the age of five, or to drop out of school if they survive. But private aid groups and governments are working hard to change the odds in the lottery of motherhood. In Sierra Leone, a place that Save the Children ranks as one of the very worst places to be a mom, a new government program is trying to turn the tide, as we see in this short film from ViewChange.
TITLE
Where Every Pregnancy is a Gamble. Lauren Malkani and Ami Vitale, Sierra Leone
VOICEOVER
After a brutal decade-long conflict, Sierra Leone has the highest child and maternal mortality rates in the world.
FATIMATA KONTE [Expectant mother, Kroo Bay]
My name is Fatimata Konte. I'm 36 years old. We women suffer too much. Women in Sierra Leone suffer too much! I've lived in Kroo Bay for four years. When I wake up at 5am I get out of bed, and the kind of pain that I feel is from my waist bone down to the bottom of my belly. I cough and I'm very sick. I'm really sick but it's like this for all women. From the day a child is born, she must work. Every day I must go to the market. There I have to bargain for fruits. It's a strain to go to the market. I must sell the fruit to have money to buy food to sell for the next day. It's all I can do to survive. I work for my daughter so she can go to school. She is in class four. I want her to learn. Let her learn. I want her to be somebody.
DR. TAGIE GBAWRU-MANSARAY [Doctor, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital]
When a woman is educated she can take care of herself, she can take care of the children, she can take care of her husband, her home. It benefits the population, the family, and it will help Sierra Leone in the long run. I'm a medical doctor, house officer here at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital. When you're in school and you're studying to become a doctor, you read about all the fanciful techniques, all the wonderful drugs, the magic pills that you give to patients, all the different things that you can do as a doctor. When you come into the real world and you see that even basic things we don't have here -- the basic drugs, simple equipment -- and you are limited. At times you see a particular case and you think to yourself, if only I had this, if only I had that, I would have been able to save a patient's life.
VOICEOVER
One in five children die before their first birthday, and one in eight women die during pregnancy.
FATIMATA KONTE
I have two children and I've lost five, so this is the eighth pregnancy. So right now, I am remembering the past. I am worried this one can die too. My biggest fear is that this child will die.
VOICEOVER
The one referral hospital in the capital of Freetown services a population of over 400,000 people.
DR. IBRAHAM THORLIE [Doctor, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital]
Hello, good afternoon. My name is Dr. Ibraham Thorlie. In this hospital we have four gynecologists. One doctor can serve over 100,000 people.
VOICEOVER
Though the hospital is severely understaffed, it is not the only reason so many people are dying.
DR. IBRAHAM THORLIE
The delay starts from home. If a woman is pregnant, she wants to give birth, and the husband is not around, she cannot be taken anywhere without the husband coming, because he gives the money. If you come too late, we cannot help you.
VOICEOVER
And, often, those patients who come too late are very close to death.
DR. IBRAHAM THORLIE
It's a big dilemma. If the patient can pay you, then it's good. But when they cannot pay you, you need to help them.
VOICEOVER
Rather than watching their patients die, many doctors and nurses like Rebecca pay for the worst cases from their own small salaries.
REBECCA MASSAQUEI [Nurse, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital]
I'm a poor nurse. I don't have money to take care of this baby. But the baby should have died, because there was nobody to take care of the baby. So that's why I decided to take the baby. He will live to tell this story. So he's the victory child. That why I call his name Victor.
VOICEOVER
Victor is one of the few lucky survivors in a place where so many die. However, the government has just launched a program providing free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five.
DR. IBRAHAM THORLIE
Now things are picking up with the pronouncement of the free healthcare system. It's a big incentive and we hope that will surely bring a difference. But to sustain it is not an easy thing.
FATIMATA KONTE
We women are all very happy that women will finally get treated.
TITLE
On April 16, 2010 Fatimata Konte gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
TITLE
[end credits]

Segment 2

VOICEOVER
So where are the best and worst places to be a mom? For its "State of the World's Mothers" report, Save the Children studied 164 countries, and compiled a "mothers index." At the top of the index, women have what they need to thrive: excellent medical services, plenty of skilled health workers, and opportunities for education and advancement. But the gap between the top- and bottom-ranked countries is stark. At the bottom, one in three children suffers from malnutrition, and one in 30 women will die from pregnancy-related causes. And how does the United States stack up? Number 31. America's maternal mortality is the highest of any industrialized nation.
VOICEOVER
But the study is also clear about solutions that work. And the very best solution for helping moms and children? More health workers on the front lines. The equation is simple: more doctors, more midwives and community health workers means more mothers and children surviving childbirth and the early years of life. Nowhere is this more clear than a place like Nepal, which is ranked 133rd on the Mothers Index. This ViewChange short film from Living Proof tells the story.
TITLE
In one of the world's poorest places, the day a woman gives birth is the most dangerous day of her life, and her child's life. Can one woman and her baby beat the odds?
TITLE
Dangerous Day. Living Proof, Nepal
TITLE
Western Nepal
TITLE
People scratch out a living in the Himalayan foothills, and life is hardest for women
MAHESWORI
My name is Maheswori. I'm 19 years old. My husband went to India to work. Here there is no food, no rice, no nothing. Around here, there's no work.
TITLE
Maheswori is pregnant and past due.
MAHESWORI
I am very, very scared. Everyone has been asking about it, and that makes me even more scared. My first child was breech born, and I might just die this time. If I will live, I will live. If I will die, I will die.
TITLE
The nearest hospital is four hours away.
MAHESWORI
Some said take her to the hospital, some said drive her down. Everyone had opinions. But how would you get a car without money?
TITLE
She plans to deliver in the same place she gave birth before.
MAHESWORI
In November my daughter was born. I had the baby in our cow shed.
TITLE
By local custom, mother and child are quarantined as "unclean."
MAHESWORI
For 12 days after the birth, the baby and I were kept in the cow shed. On the 13th day we were allowed out. You can't take a newborn in the house, God gets angry. You're better off in the cow shed.
TITLE
Because of Maheswori's high-risk pregnancy, an aid worker traveling with the camera crew makes a case to village elders. They consent to having a birth attendant, and she won't give birth in the cow shed.
MAHESWORI
I am going to die. Oh my mother! I am dying ...
WOMAN
Get me the gloves, quickly.
MAHESWORI
I am dying ... am dying. Please ... I can't.
WOMAN
It's a complete breech situation. Push hard!
INDUKA KARI [CARE Program Officer]
She was completely unaware of the fact that she would need medical care because her first child was breech born.
TITLE
She gives birth to another daughter, Seema.
INDUKA KARI
If she hadn't gotten proper care by a trained birth attendant, she would've died.
MAHESWORI
I'll rest for seven days, but then it's back to work. I have to pound the rice, carry water, cut grass, and chop wood. Life is tough here.
TITLE
Living Proof. Real Lives. Real Progress.
TITLE
In Nepal, 80 percent of births occur at home with no skilled birth attendant like Maheswori had. But support from global partners is helping train Nepal's 45,000 female health volunteers, and they are dramatically improving Nepal's health outcomes.

Segment 3

VOICEOVER
If there's one overwhelming success story in maternal and child health, it can be found in Malawi, where almost half the county -- 40 percent -- lives in poverty. But, for years, the government has been investing in all sorts of new plans for life-saving care. The result? The number of deaths in children under five has been cut in half over the past 20 years. Malawi's striking results are strongly linked to efforts on the ground, house by house, community to community, to give mothers the support they need. Living Proof has this success story from Malawi
TITLE
Grandparents Shaping Safe Childbirth. Living Proof, Malawi
TITLE
Wacapati = Pregnancy
TITLE
In Malawi, the word for pregnancy also means 50/50. Conventional wisdom says there is just a 50/50 chance a woman will survive childbirth.
TITLE
Agogo = Grandparent
TITLE
Agogos are known as the guardians of wisdom and are responsible for passing on tradition.
TITLE
Can agogos help improve the odds of wacapati?
TITLE
Ekwendeni, Malawi
LYTON CHAWINGA
My name is Lyton Chawinga, and I have six grandchildren. I was born at home, in 1948. In previous days, pregnant mothers were using unsafe methods. Some would have their babies in grass huts. After giving birth, they would leave babies on the ground in the cold. We didn't know better. We had a lot of deaths. One day, hospital workers asked us to be a part of the Agogo Program.
TITLE
The Agogo Program teaches village elders about proper natal care and helps agogos pass along those messages to their communities.
LYTON CHAWINGA
We go to their house. We talk to both the man and the woman. We are here to chat with you about the importance of going to the hospital when you are pregnant. We show them pictures and tell them what can happen if they give birth at home. That the mother or baby can fall sick or die.
WOMAN [Agogo]
After three months, start going for checkups. Escort each other. Many husbands refuse to escort their wives, which is not good.
TITLE
Agogos also use traditional methods to teach modern messages.
WOMEN
Pregnancy doesn't kill, the hospital is good, and all our children should be taken there.
LYTON CHAWINGA
Deaths have decreased, diseases have decreased, and life has improved. I am really happy because if the student fails you are not a good teacher. I see fruits of what I teach and I am proud that I am a good teacher.
TITLE
Living Proof: Real Lives. Real Progress.
TITLE
With support and funding, 4,000 agogos have been trained in Malawi.
TITLE
As a result, Ekwendeni Hospital has seen a 60 percent increase in pregnant women seeking antenatal care.
TITLE
To accommodate them, the hospital is building a new, larger maternal ward.

Segment 4

VOICEOVER
Access to health care isn't the whole story, of course. Helping women must include an investment in education. In rural Bangladesh, communities are learning the real value of empowering women. This film from Save the Children shows that giving girls a voice can be the most powerful solution of all.
TITLE
Shilpi's Story. Save the Children, Bangladesh
TITLE
This is Shilpi's story. Tiler Char, Barishal, Bangladesh.
VOICEOVER
Shilpi's father died when she was very young. Her mother worked as a maid to support Shilpi and two younger sons. She earned only enough to feed them one meal a day. When Save the Children started the Girls' Voices project nearby, Shilpi joined. She met with other teenage girls to build self-confidence and learn new skills, like making a budget and saving money. Shilpi realized she could help support her family, even without working outside the home. She started her first business weaving mats.
SHILPI
Later, I thought about how I could use the money I earn from weaving mats to do more. So I bought a small cow. After a year it gave birth. At that time we got 2 to 2.5 liters of milk from the cow every day. I sold that milk and used the money for my family. Later, when I had earned more money from weaving mats, I saved it. Our house was very small. It was awful to live there during the rainy season. So I decided we should build a new house. I sold the calf and used the money from my savings to build this house. If I had not joined "Girls' Voices" I would have been married by now, like all the other girls. Then I would not have been able to build such a big house or buy a cow. Now my plan is to buy a piece of land since we do not have any. The other plan I have is for my brother. Because he is handicapped, I am supporting his studies. That way he can get a job and earn his own living. My mother used to think if I had been a son instead of a daughter our life would have been much easier. But now she thinks "my daughter has done more for our family than a son would ever do."

Segment 5

VOICEOVER
Around the world, communities are coming together, not only to save the lives of mothers and children, but to improve them. To give women real opportunities to change the courses of their lives. Basic health care can solve the most urgent crises, but a bigger sea change -- one that empowers women to learn, to marry later, and to decide when to have children -- will ultimately close the gaps in the odds that mothers face. Those changes are happening every day, country by country, and girl by girl. Sometimes, in places like India, something as simple as a bicycle can make all the difference.
TITLE
Hubub Films Presents
TITLE
Sone Sangvi, India
TITLE
Pedal=Sight. Jacob Seigel-Boettner, India
BHARATI PHAKAD DATE
My name is Bharati Phakad Date. I am 14 years old. I live in Sone Sangvi. I am going to Nimgaon Bhogi High School. I am learning in the ninth standard [grade]. My favorite actor is Mithun Chakrabothy because he always plays a humanitarian, someone who helps other people. My favorite actress is Rani Mukherjee. I like her husky voice. There are a lot of people who live on the streets. I will help them. There are so many people in this world who do not even get one meal a day. I will help them.
TITLE
Pedal = Sight
ARMENE MODI [Director, Ashta No Kai]
For about a couple of years, we only focused on adult women and literacy for them, and I noticed many of the girls who came to the class were very, very young girls with mangalsutra, which is a gold-and-black beaded necklace, around their necks, which in India is a symbol of matrimony, and they had babies on their hips, and I started to ask, "What's going on?" and, "Why are such young girls married off already?"
BHARATI'S MOTHER
My life, my generation, was full of darkness. I have to make sure that my daughters get a good education. It is our duty. If you are uneducated, then it is as if you only have one eye.
ARMENE MODI
In many villages, there were only schools until seventh grade. There were no high schools. So we worked in 10 villages at that point of time, and there were only three high schools. So then I asked the parents, the mothers, "Well, what happens to the boys? How do you send the boys to school?" And they said, "Well, we give them bicycles." And I said, "Well, what about the girls?" And they said, "Oh, no. It's a waste of money to give a bicycle to a girl. She's going to turn around and get married." There's a famous Indian saying: Why water a plant that's going to grow in a neighbor's garden? So, I thought, my God, if it's only a bicycle that's keeping girls from going to school, let's go ahead and give it to them.
BHARATI PHAKAD DATE
The bike has been really useful. Now, the time that I save commuting to school can be used to study. Also, now I can ride to school with my friends. It's a lot of fun. I used to have to walk to school.
BHARATI'S MOTHER
Initially, she had to walk to school. It took her more than an hour. Now she can ride to school in 15 minutes. She now feels very motivated and enthusiastic to attend school.
BHARATI PHAKAD DATE
I want to become a District Supervisor, because then I can make big decisions, and also have the power to implement them. I would be able to make decisions regarding the welfare of the poor and downtrodden. I would be able to help transform society. My name is Bharati Phakad Date. I am 14 years old. I live in Sone Sangvi. I want to eradicate poverty from this country.
TITLE
[end credits]
VOICEOVER
Like what you saw? Then visit ViewChange.org, Link TV's brand new multimedia website. Watch over 200 stories about new solutions to the developing world's biggest challenges, get involved with the issues, share the stories with friends, and help change the world, all at ViewChange.org
VOICEOVER
To read the full 2011 "State of the World's Mothers" report, and to learn more about Save the Children, visit savethechildren.org.
TITLE
[end credits]