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Dead Mums Don't Cry

Grace Kodindo's heroic efforts in Chad to lower the rate of maternal mortality, one of the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

A printer-friendly version of this page 49 minutes
Produced by Tristan Quinn for BBC's "Panorama" Series
Reporter: Steve Bradshaw
Series Editor: Mike Robinson

"This is by far the best film on maternal mortality I have ever seen." Deborah Maine, Ph.D., Professor of International Health, Boston University
Becoming a mother in Africa can be among the most frightening and dangerous jobs in the world. This program investigates why more than half a million women die every year in pregnancy and childbirth.

DEAD MUMS DON'T CRY documents one woman's remarkable struggle to stop mothers in her country from dying. She's Grace Kodindo - an obstetrician in the poverty-stricken central African country of Chad. Women in Chad have a 1 in 11 chance of dying during pregnancy or in childbirth. The risk for women in the UK is 1 in 5100.

Cutting maternal mortality by 75% by 2015 was one of the eight Millennium Development Goals set by 189 countries in 2000. Five years on, progress is far behind schedule - and this film reveals it's slowest on the goals that affect women and children.

But DEAD MUMS DON'T CRY shows there is reason for hope. A few poor countries have succeeded in saving mothers' lives. BBC reporter Steve Bradshaw and Grace Kodindo travel to Honduras, which has cut maternal mortality far faster than some wealthier neighbors. A key reason is that influential men and women cared enough to make the issue a priority.

Grade Level: 10 - 12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2006     Copyright Date: 2005
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-449-4     VHS ISBN: 1-59458-448-6

"An excellent introduction to the problems surrounding maternal health and childbirth in the Third World. [Dead Mums Don't Cry] is a captivating production that focuses on a real-world obstetric heroine, Dr. Grace Kodindo, and her struggles to save women's lives without the basic resources that she needs, in the country of Chad. Most importantly, by comparing Chad with Honduras, it shows how with determined efforts by government, by women's health `champions', and by external partners, these problems can be successfully overcome with only modest expenditures. Highly recommended."
L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor of Anthropology, Washington University

"This is by far the best film on maternal mortality I have ever seen. It really shows how families and health workers struggle to save the lives of pregnant women in developing countries. Sadly this struggle is often in vain. The portion of the film that takes place in Chad shows how the health system fails them in so many ways -- by having too few functioning facilities, that are too far from the villages; by not supplying essential drugs and supplies needed to save lives. It also shows how this failure can continue, due to lack of political will, or it can be remedied by relatively simple actions that the government can take even in a relatively poor country such as Honduras. The reaction of the courageous obstetrician from Chad, Dr.Grace Kodindo, to the improvements that have been made in Honduras, that allow physicians and other health workers to save so many more women than she can in Chad, is one of many memorable moments in the film."
Deborah Maine, Ph.D., Professor of International Health, Boston University

"A stark reminder of the conditions that women (and men and children) face in poorer countries, where healthcare is expensive and not widely available. It is also a testimony to the incredible work that dedicated medical professionals do against incredible odds. Finally, it indicates how little change would be needed in order to make a significant difference in the lives of women and children...Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, anthropology of gender/women, development anthropology, and African studies, as well as for general audiences."
Jack Davis Eller, Community College of Denver, Anthropology Review Database

"The issues are illustrated beautifully...Dead Mums Don't Recommended for library collections supporting public health, women's health, African studies, and political science...An important film that deserves a wide showing."
Lori Widzinski, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Educational Media Reviews Online

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Awards and Festivals
Finalist, Issues & Ethics Category, International Health & Medical Media Awards

African Studies
Central America/The Caribbean
Death And Dying
Developing World
Global Issues
Human Rights
Maternal Mortality
Millennium Development Goals
Reproductive Rights

Social Justice
United Nations
Women's Studies

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