Amazing documentary tonight on BBC1 at 10.35pm - Four Born Every Second - a kind of global OBEM

(215 Posts)
MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 19:25:23


I saw a preview today and it is both shocking and inspiring.

287,000 women die from pregnancy related causes every year, 99% of them in developing countries.

The film shows the difference between UK and US births and those in Cambodia and Sierra Leone.

It does contain quite distressing scenes of still birth, so maybe not for you if you are currently pregnant.

I blogged about it today (link on profile) to give you an idea what it is about and will be watching again tonight.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 19:51:12

The MSF project featured is really interesting.

They estimate a cost of about £1.70 per inhabitant of Sierra Leone would provide emergency obstetric care, which would lower the maternal mortality by up to 74%.

farrowandballs Mon 19-Nov-12 21:56:34

I am definitely going to watch this!!!

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 21:59:18

Another half hour.

Get your tissues out

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 22:34:54

Anyone watching?

would be interested in your opinion about the programme.

honeytea Mon 19-Nov-12 22:41:23

I'm watching, I'm 37 weeks pregnant and crying already, I'm not sure it's such a good idea to watch it!

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 22:42:23

One in eight women in Sierra Leone die in childbirth. It is tragic, isn't it?

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 22:42:58

oh, Honey. I will warn you that there are some distressing scenes.

Oh my word.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 22:46:42

Oh my word indeed

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 22:46:45

It is really harrowing. And so sad that the baby might have survived, if she had access to medical care.

ggirl Mon 19-Nov-12 22:48:44

god we're so lucky aren't we

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 22:48:45

Interesting about uSA

Meglet Mon 19-Nov-12 22:49:38

Watching. Those poor women and babies.

I am so utterly grateful we have our health service.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:22

We really are, ggirl.

I watched the programme this afternoon, but am shocked anew tonight.

So US is about the divide?

honeytea Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:47

Goodness I am not going to complain about all the appointments you have ot go to when pregnant sad

I do feel a bit like a spoilt brat now having refused to go for a growth scan in late pregnancy.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 22:54:23

This little boy is so amazing.

honeytea Mon 19-Nov-12 22:55:58

Starlight I am feeling like that about my birth plan, I have written stupid things on it like "please don't tell me what colour my baby's hair is" it is so irrelevant.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 22:57:01

US is interesting because their births are v medicalised, with more interventions, they have higher incidence of obesity and more people without healthcare (who then don't go to prenatal checks). All adds up to higher mortality rates than anywere else in developed world.

KnockMeDown Mon 19-Nov-12 23:00:09

That woman - her courage is humbling and heartbreaking...

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 23:01:51

I knew they were medicalised but hadn't thought about the obesity issue and the £££ of prenatal checks

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:03:03

Don't feel guilty, Honey and Starlight. It is not till we watch something like this, that we realise how fortunate we are.

Love that they are showing so many babies bfing.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:03:55

I have some links for further reading, if anyone is interested. Will look them out later.

ggirl Mon 19-Nov-12 23:14:04

Oh My God
a ruptured uterus

Oh bless him.

FeathersMcGraw Mon 19-Nov-12 23:15:28

poor girl

wonderstuff Mon 19-Nov-12 23:17:30

heart breaking isn't it. We just don't as a global society care enough about women and children.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:17:33

I would guess that a ruptured uterus would not end well in UK hospitals either though? Would they be able to save the baby?

wonderstuff Mon 19-Nov-12 23:20:29

I was thinking more of the country stats they were showing for maternal survival.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:24:21

oh, yes. Sorry, was not referring to your post. Was musing about the woman who died, and if she'd have survived if she had lived in UK.

I agree that not enough is done for women and children.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:26:00

If you weren't weeping already, then I bet that wee boy set you off.

wonderstuff Mon 19-Nov-12 23:26:06

That poor Cambodian boy - heartbreaking.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 23:26:34


OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 23:27:13

And what the jeff was the medicalised cervix water bomb they were offering Starr?!?

The don't do straw balloons up the fanjo here.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:28:51

I wondered about that too, Olivia. I loved her bear-like roar though

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 23:29:08

I want to reach into my television and hug that doctor from Sierra Leone.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:29:17

stunning stat coming up

wonderstuff Mon 19-Nov-12 23:29:23

I wondered on that - and if anyone had advised me to make out after several days labour - not sure I'd be impressed.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:30:09

That is about £1.70 per person for the whole of Sierra Leone. Population around 6m.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 23:30:39

Didn't they say at the beginning that there were only 200 doctors in the whole country though?

ggirl Mon 19-Nov-12 23:30:39

the tragedy of greed and corruption

wonderstuff Mon 19-Nov-12 23:30:55

Madness isn't it.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:32:07

Yes, about 200 docs, and 87 midwives, iirc

Dr Phillip for Olivia

notnagging Mon 19-Nov-12 23:34:13

Amazing programme. That mother that died on the operating table was heartbreaking. Didn't expect it to be so graphic showing the baby that had already started to decomposesad

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 23:35:35

oh god that baby

ggirl Mon 19-Nov-12 23:36:02

that was harrowing

KnockMeDown Mon 19-Nov-12 23:36:58

That beautiful baby girl - I am in tears now

notnagging Mon 19-Nov-12 23:37:02

Holding my own new born. I'm reminded of how thankful I should be. Hard viewingsad

Ah, think I must have missed this, anyone know if it's being repeated at all?

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:37:13

Here is more info about the programme Scroll down for the Safe Delivery report.

FeathersMcGraw Mon 19-Nov-12 23:37:28

agreed. I feel sadness, frustration and anger all at the same time...

TaggieCampbellBlack Mon 19-Nov-12 23:38:08

I'll try not to moan about being an NHS midwife again.

wonderstuff Mon 19-Nov-12 23:38:37

Excellent program - I feel I need to add Medcine San Frontiers to my Xmas list. We just don't know we're born to we? $3 a day - gives some perspective doesn't it.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:39:05

I think it will be on iPlayer

The MSF programme is really very interesting, as it shows that will quite a small investment, it is possible to lower the maternity mortality rate quite dramatically.

notnagging Mon 19-Nov-12 23:39:34

Should be on iplayer whispers.

MonthlyName Mon 19-Nov-12 23:40:54

What was the program title? I want to find it tomorrow, hopefully on repeat, so I can watch. Sounds sad but informative

MonthlyName Mon 19-Nov-12 23:41:53

See my question has already been answered!

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:42:03
YouBrokeMySmoulder Mon 19-Nov-12 23:43:27

Mmelindor, a good place to mention your MN catapult team, we have given to the birth waiting homes fund in Sierra Leone to try and do something about these stats.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:43:51

made a mess of the links

Mumsnet Team

and Sierra Leone project

YouBrokeMySmoulder Mon 19-Nov-12 23:44:17

Tsk damn my slow typing.

MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 23:44:25

XP smile

Must give it a plug on Twitter too.

stargirl1701 Mon 19-Nov-12 23:50:41

Wow. Just watched this holding my 10 week old LO. I cried. I feel so grateful for the NHS. I feel so privileged to be a UK citizen, to have been pg, to have given birth here, to know my child will have free healthcare and free education.

OhDearSpareHeadTwo Mon 19-Nov-12 23:54:30

this is the sort of thing i think about when people casually compare the NHS to a "3rd world health service". And given the USA's shocking record in maternal and foetal health it astounds me that well-off americans criticise our system. At least the poor in this country have equal access to healthcare.

PiedWagtail Tue 20-Nov-12 00:02:44

Four born every second was such a well made programme - really effective. We are SO lucky to live in this country.

But blimey, did they have to pick someone on benefits for Britain? 'I don't live above my means... all I wanted was a roof over my head, and kids... and a job... I'll get a job when the kids are older' - well, who the hell do you think is supporting you now, you daft bint???? You DO live above your means, because you can't afford to support the 2 kids by 2 dads that you have (and not a sniff of child maintenance from either). Arghhhhh.

But the homless family in the US - who knew that maternal mortality ahs increased there over the last 20 years, or that the US is the most dangerous developed country in which to give birth?

The Doctors without Borders surgeon was fantastic. He has such a demanding job and he really cares about all the women he has to care for. Didn;t it say that 840 women in childbirth per 100,000 die in Sierre Leone? And that 1 in 8 women in Africa die in childbirth? Now THEY are sobering statistics. And this is the 21st century. I was shocked by a lot of what I saw tonight. And we think we have problems in the UK.

I think they wanted to chose someone relatively poor from each country.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 00:07:10

yes, must agree that the single mother on benefits was a bit of a cliché.

The stats are astounding, but I was glad that they concentrated on the stories of the women.

We should all be thankful for the NHS, that is so true.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 00:13:01

Here is an interview with the film maker, Brian Hill

Yes, suppose they wanted to show someone in relative poverty in each country. And it was interesting to see that US provide a very very basic safety net in comparison to what our welfare state provides.

I'd much rather live in a country that doesn't put a family of 5 into a room smaller than the one that my DD is sleeping in upstairs.

They only get $460 a month social security, and about the same in food stamps. Try and feed a family of 5 on that!

chairchairchair Tue 20-Nov-12 00:25:06

Can't see this (am in the USA) - can anyone summarise what was said about giving birth here (am currently 27wks...)??

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 00:41:06

The US bit was mainly about a homeless family, so perhaps not that relevant for you.

They did say that US docs tend to be more ready to intervene (cause they are scared of being sued) - not sure if that is every hospital though so worth looking into your local provision.

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 01:29:47

I really felt for the single mum in the UK, she was so lucky in so many ways with the healthcare she was given and the home she had but I couldn't help but feel maybe she was a little isolated, when the women were going washing clothes and one woman said to the other "I feel sorry for you because you are pregnant, I can do your work for you if you need me to" I felt they had a fantastic sence of community and support that maybe the UK woman was lacking.

PinkParrot Tue 20-Nov-12 02:24:03

I haven't watched the programme as not in the UK. Someone upthread referred to how birth in the US is more medicalised, which I'm aware of. But is the suggestion that the higher mortality rate in the US is connected to this?

TanteRose Tue 20-Nov-12 03:56:24

link to article in the Independent

I haven't seen the programme as am outside UK - it may turn up on Youtube eventually...

stargirl1701 Tue 20-Nov-12 04:58:34

The BBC are running a season on poverty in association with the Open University. Above is the address to learn more. You can delve into the background and look at the statistics in depth.

Sorry it's not a link. I'm unsure of how to covert on my iPad.

TanteRose Tue 20-Nov-12 05:06:10
Blackberryinoperative Tue 20-Nov-12 06:22:01

Little ly ly sad so heartbreaking.

Oh, of course, Iplayer, I didn't think of that blush Hope to catch it soon, it sounds very interesting, if upsetting sad

Meglet Tue 20-Nov-12 07:35:57

Going back to the nurses in Africa who were working to educate women about ante-natal and health care I'm sure I read an article the other week (possibly in the NYT supplement with the observer) about how mobile phones were getting so cheap that they were starting to use then to get health messages out to rural areas. Not a complete solution but it might give some women and babies a fighting chance.

annia Tue 20-Nov-12 09:09:04

Incredible programme . Such a lot of injustice in the world. As the surgeon in the programme stated the deaths of mothers and their tiny babies are down to rich countries not sharing their resources . Shameful .

PiedWagtail Tue 20-Nov-12 09:16:18

Actually Annia - he said that it was due to Sierra Leone not sharing its own resources with its own people, and there being a huge divide between rich and poor - Sierra Leone is rich in diamonds and silver etc.

PiedWagtail Tue 20-Nov-12 09:18:27

'I haven't watched the programme as not in the UK. Someone upthread referred to how birth in the US is more medicalised, which I'm aware of. But is the suggestion that the higher mortality rate in the US is connected to this?'

Pink Parrot - I thought that they must have been referring to the lower end of the US social scale for that, perhaps women with no money (though how did the homeless woman manage to afford her hospital stay if she had no medical insurance?). Cannot believe that referred to rich people in the US - wonder if there is a connection to more intervention?

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 20-Nov-12 09:25:45

I just watched it using the link one of my teenagers watched it with me as we have a late start today. His observations were

Is that what happens to poor people in country's without a decent welfare system?

I can't think of any answer to this other than yes.

Zorra Tue 20-Nov-12 09:29:37

Meglet there are a few mHealth projects, including MAMA. Information and guidance is a great start, but there are issued of access (e.g. There are stories of women walking for two days in labour to reach facilities), general health issues, harmful traditional practices (e.g. The problems of obstetrics for women who have been circumcised) and all sorts else... (I'm a humanitarian aid worker in Africa btw, so have seen some of this first hand)

TanteRose Tue 20-Nov-12 09:40:27
MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 09:47:31

I read that the higher maternal mortality rate is due to three things

- higher incidence of obesity, which causes rise in pregnancy complications
- medicalised births, because docs are scared of being sued for not intervening
- lack of health insurance, so women don't attend pre-natal checks

which doesn't mean that all women will experience all three of these, but the combination means that they have around double the deaths during and after pregnancy than most EU nations.

Interestingly, the next closest of the EU nations is France, which has 10 deaths per 100,000 births (compared to US 16 deaths). The French health system is very good, but they too tend towards high rates of intervention, and a medicalised birth.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 09:54:23

I am not sure about that, but will try and find out. This is the centre where they were helped

It was an interesting contrast - to see the yoga/alternative birthing/doula in US which is great when you have the medical backup if things go wrong, but not when it is all there is (as in Sierra Leone's 'natural births').

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 09:59:05

Dp and I are so utterly grateful for my 2 C/Ss.Without them all 3 of my 3 wouldn't be here and neither would I.That's 4 lives that would have been lost.

Have always thought that as a nation we don't appreciate the fantastic care and interventions we get when having babies.We spend far too much time obsessing over things that are relatively small in the grand scheme of things and not enough appreciation for procedures that are the difference between life and death.

This documentary made me very grateful to have had my babies here.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 10:00:59

The CDC in Kenya are trialing a programme to use text messages to contact patients who have had an HIV test - when the results are entered in the computer at the testing centre, a text is sent to the doctor or health centre, who then sends a text to the patient to let them know the results are in.

Mobile phone receptions is generally good even in remote areas, and there is a lot of work going on to use this technology.

Sadly, I have to agree with Zorra though - this is only a tiny part of the problem. Actually getting the women to the hospital is a much larger issue. There is no ambulance service, and few have cars or even motorbikes. We saw ill people being transported to hospitals on the backs of motorbikes - one elderly man was sandwiched between two youths to stop him falling off the bike.

Our guide called it 'the African ambulance'.

Imagine being in labour and having to walk to hospital, or getting on the back of a motorbike and being driven along roads with potholes big enough to drop a Twingo into. Not to mention what the roads are like when it rains.

butane123 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:03:03

oh no i missed this does any one no if its going to be shown again ? x

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 10:03:42

I'll never forget that doc re health care(or the lack of it)for the poor in the US.It was utterly shocking,they literally get nothing.One guy needed a life saving op and was simply being left to die as he had no insurance.Hoards of people with rotten teeth,really ill etc who queued in the night when a volunteer doc dropped by.

I can soo see why mortality rates are high in the US.Many of these poorer women will be extremely run down before they even got pg.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 10:05:52
butane123 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:09:06

thank you going to have a watch now xx

FairiesWearPoppies Tue 20-Nov-12 10:11:44

It is on I player. Just how sad is this? My ds was stillborn but was revived was an emcs how upsetting am I likely to find this?

Nancy66 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:14:25

it is upsetting Fairies, there are images of dead babies

Pretty harrowing viewing - am watching on iplayer clutching my 13 week old dd3.

My beautiful dd2 died shortly after birth last year but watching this makes me realise how lucky we were that she was given the very best chance at life by our amazing nhs and that I didn't die having her.

Very very sad.

I think if you had never had the experiences you have had, you would still find it upsetting.

I was on the verge of turning the tv off many times, but didn't because the programme was excellent and it felt almost disrespectful to turn it off iyswim, not just to the people who live in those countries, but to that amazing doctor and his staff.

FairiesWearPoppies Tue 20-Nov-12 10:26:17

Oh dear lord

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 10:29:24

It is very honest and graphic. There are scenes of EMCS - some of them where the baby and/or the mother doesn't survive.

If it is going to upset you, don't watch it. You can still read about it and support the initiatives without having the images in your head.

Glad your DS made it. I had a EMCS too and remember how scary it was

FairiesWearPoppies Tue 20-Nov-12 10:30:56

I'm watching. That baby sad and that poor poor mother

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 10:32:46

for overseas MNetters details of where to watch.

If you are on Twitter follow @askwhypoverty

They have said all docs will be available online after the global broadcasts

mumwithtwokids Tue 20-Nov-12 10:35:07

I saw the program and this has helped re-confirm how utterly selfish and self centred many of us are in this country.

There are so many people in true poverty around the world with no help whatsoever yet not long ago many MNs were getting into a hissy fit because the goverment were thinking of capping the number of children they pay benefits for.

I think it's also so eye opening when the UK mother could choose 'not to work' but yet could still have a comfortable lifestyle courtesy of the state. Yet at the opposite end of the spectrum you have women who take responsibility and bust their guts for peanuts just to feed themselves and their children and they do it without complaining because they know no one is going to hand it to them on a plate. If you asked people in this country to take responsibility many would start waiving their human rights!!

I don't think poverty in other countries justifies a race to the bottom in ours.

I don't think just because things are terrible elsewhere it means we should let our NHS fall apart and be grateful.

fromparistoberlin Tue 20-Nov-12 10:45:23

(a) I have just increased my DD to them

however I turned over, was so harrowed I could not even watch it

it was that way to lifeless little body was just chucked into a sheet...

anyway, if you feel strongly ladies donate here|utmccn=(not%20set)|utmcmd=(not%20set)|utmctr=medecin%20sans&__utmv=-&__utmk=49846310

For me it just reinforces that the NHS is one of the greatest assets this country has and that the current 'free for everyone' system should be maintained at all costs.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 10:55:19

I agree with mum.

Yes the NHS should be maintained at all costs for everybody but really the comparison between the lady in Cambodia and the UK was shocking and mumwith summed it up well.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 10:56:14

Yes, Starlight, I agree.

We should be raising their standards, not lowering ours.

Not saying that there aren't problems with the welfare state in UK, but I am very thankful that children in UK don't have to live in such terrible conditions.

Look at the comparison between the US and the UK social security support. Do we really want families living in tiny shelters, with only $460 a month (plus $460 food stamps). And little way out of that poverty trap?

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 10:57:29

To be fair, the UK mum didn't choose not to work. She would have to pay £1400 for childcare if she were to get a job.

Nancy66 Tue 20-Nov-12 11:01:49

The UK mum was trapped in the childcare cost v work trap.

She didn't strike me as greedy or grabbing, just frustrated.

Safe Haven Cambodia is also a v.good charity worth mentioning (run from UK)

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 11:12:05

I think there should be a happy medium.It doesn't have to be either or.

Paying somebody to sit on their arse all day having kids with zero limits or responsibility is wrong.

Millions of women/families work for no/little financial reward.

Surely the lady in question should be looking towards her future ie working/studying for very little in the 2 or 3 early years before the 2 year old vouchers kick in/kids start school like plenty of other women have to on their own/or in a partnership.

But then said lady doesn't have to -the state will pick up the tab.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 11:17:20

Can we not turn this into a thread bashing benefit recipients in UK?

The UK mother said that she would like to go to college. I hope that she can afford to do this.

More important is the issue of extreme poverty in the developing world, imo.

40% of maternal deaths in Sierra Leone are teenagers.

Around half of Kenyan girls stated that their first sexual contact was non-consensual.

Poverty leaves women and girls vulnerable, it means they receive little or no education. They are having babies when our girls are going to University or getting their first jobs.

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 11:22:49

But she can't work as how could she pay over a 1000 pounds for childcare with no qualifications?

I think the focus should be on free/very cheap childcare so working/studying is a viable choice for everyone.

What is the state didn't pick up the tab for those children? I felt nothing but pride at being british when I saw the healthcare and support given to mothers and babies.

mignonette Tue 20-Nov-12 11:25:37

I had a ruptured uterus and ruptured urinary bladder. Most do not end well. My boy survived only because I ruptured whilst being prepped for a CS in theatre. But took hours of surgery to patch me up

Polkadots, raising children is hard work and a huge responsibility. No-one doing it sits on their arse all day, and when it isn't your own kids it is considered a demanding profession.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 11:28:13

Exactly, Honey.

Thank goodness you were already in theatre. I suspected that the prognosis is very bad. sad

40% of maternal deaths in Sierra Leone are teenagers sad

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 11:29:56

"bashing benefit recipients" errr no making some very pertinent questions which this documentary highlighted.

Sorry but there does need to be a happy medium.Cambodia and the UK are the 2 complete ends of the spectrum.The UK can't afford to carry on in the way that is and Cambodia needs to look at how it can support it's poor more.

Personally I think both could learn from each other.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 11:30:33

One scene that they cut from the film was a 13 year old who gave birth at 27 weeks to a tiny baby that died minutes after the birth.

13 years old.

mignonette Tue 20-Nov-12 11:33:32


Most babies die. Most Mothers do. I was lucky.

mignonette Tue 20-Nov-12 11:33:51
mignonette Tue 20-Nov-12 11:35:54

However in a modern OB/GYN centre, morbidity/mortality rates can be significantly reduced. It depends upon the time between rupture and delivery.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 11:37:55

Between and 37 mins to save the life of the baby. You were incredibly lucky, Migonette.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 11:41:43

here is a Storify (a collection of tweets and links about the film)

fioled Tue 20-Nov-12 12:05:55

As I've said on my own FB status, I struggled my way through watching it. Much of it too close to home, as my DD was born asleep in June 2010 and share the horror of being bereaved, but what I didn't share was the conditions.

Despite losing our precious baby girl, we were blessed with the conditions, facilities and level of care we had for her short time with us, and her brother after her. I'm so thankful to be giving birth in the UK.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 20-Nov-12 12:15:07

I picked up on the 13 year old, she was shown in a very brief shot laying with her baby asleep. I was immediately shocked that she was so young.

Treats Tue 20-Nov-12 12:37:40

I'm 22 weeks pg with my third child having lost my DS shortly after birth last year (prolapsed cord). I found this very hard to watch too.

Was it wrong of me to feel that - despite the loss of their baby - there was a 'happy ending' for the Cambodian family at the end? The caption said that Lyly had died, but that the mother was now able to work to support the family and that the boy was in school. This has to mean a brighter future for all of them, surely?

The name of the season that the film is being shown in is 'Why Poverty' and presumably - the producers think - one of the answers is that too many pregnancies = too many mouths to feed, but also that - while childbearing and childrearing - women are economically inactive which means that the rest of their family suffers.

Especially where the fathers aren't around. I thought the single mother had been chosen because - apart from the US family - her experience was directly related to the others - having to give birth and raise a child on her own. It obviously showed how much easier this is in Britain, but I also thought - as a film - it was a pretty damning indictment of men of all nationalities who get women pregnant but then abandon them to raise the children alone.

I couldn't condemn that British mother. I thought she was doing a fantastic job - obviously very committed and caring. The reason she's on benefits is because - as she very calmly said - the dad "doesn't want to be involved". She can't go out and work while she's got young children - same as the Cambodian mother couldn't - so she doesn't really have much choice. I think the worst part is that she shrugs her shoulders and accepts his choice. Not criticising her - it's a reflection of how lots of people feel.

For me, the film highlighted - regardless of geography or background - how very very vulnerable women are when they are pregnant or have very young children. I think the world forgets that sometimes.

PiedWagtail Tue 20-Nov-12 12:40:02

Mme Lindor - 'The UK mother said that she would like to go to college. I hope that she can afford to do this'.

She also said that she had failed the maths test (which was probably pretty easy, let's face it).

So shouldn't she have thought about getting a JOB, not going to college (which also costs the taxpayer??) before having her children?? We had to work to make money to then take time off and have kids...

My point is that she may not have been so careless with contraception if the UK did not provide such a generous safety net of benefits for her.

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 12:45:57

My point is that she may not have been so careless with contraception if the UK did not provide such a generous safety net of benefits for her.

But the American couple showed that people still have babies when they have access to contraception and nowhere for the baby to come home to.

Treats Tue 20-Nov-12 12:50:13

Pied - "We had to work to make money" - I think the 'we' is pretty telling there. Presumably you had a DH or DP to support you while you were pregnant and had a young baby at home. The woman in the film didn't.

And why is it just her fault that she was careless with contraception? If he was so uninterested in having children, he should have worn a condom.

I sort of agree that the benefits provide a 'no consequences' culture, but I still think the father is more to blame than she is. At least she's raising her kids.

fromparistoberlin Tue 20-Nov-12 12:50:25

how people can watch this, and then turn on the benefits-UK-Mum is frankly beyond me

Poor people in the UK can have babies relatively healthily thank god
Poor people in other countries cant, tragically

thats the whole fucking point !!!!

some comments have turned my stomach

would people prefer she suffered more????

Tamisara Tue 20-Nov-12 12:52:24

I would be too scared to watch it.

My womb ruptured last year - and it's fair to say it was because of the doctors who insisted on inducing me. Totally preventable, and I hold a lot of anger over it.

But, yes I can see that I was lucky to be in the UK. Though I have nothing much to be thankful for really

hoodoo12345 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:01:32

Very difficult watching, poor little Ly Ly and also her wonderfully bright and brave big brother, i hope he gets to stay at school now and hopefully have a brighter future.
Makes you realise how lucky we are here in the UK.

Mollydoggerson Tue 20-Nov-12 13:03:36

All the poor women that died, how increadibly sad, the way the stillborn babies were lifted out and rushed off (unceremoniously).

I don't understand why the women were not offered sterilisation (maybe they are and I missed it?). So sad.

farrowandballs Tue 20-Nov-12 13:06:40

I came on here to say how profoundly the documentary had affected me. I was expecting to hear a lot of people similarly feeling the painful, searing injustice of what we saw in that documentary. Relief that we like in the a country that believes in the duty to care for our fellow man/woman. Determination to help improve the lot of women in countries who don't benefit from a more humane distribution of GDP. I am actually gobsmacked by the cold hearted, callous and almost bizarrely point-missing posts of posters like Piedwagtail. Unbelievable that indignation about the situation of the UK single mother is your primary response to the programme, piedwagtail. Absolutely unbelievable.

farrowandballs Tue 20-Nov-12 13:07:40

'like in the a country'?? live in a country

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 20-Nov-12 13:12:20

I agree with fromparis, this whole programme was about the outcomes of children and woman through out the world where child birth is concerned.

The fact that people are having babies wether morally they should or should not is totaly irrelevant,Newhart is relevant is the sats and different outcomes that have been shown. The child in the uk have better outcomes and a higher survival through out life, from the cradle to the grave. That is a reflection of the uk welfare system. That is serving in the whole the children in our society well.

It is an reflection that in a society and a government that cares children are given the best start in life. What was highlighted for me was infant what was shown in the uk was that the single mother lacked vital supportive and community networks that allows her the equality and opportunities to enter the work place because she is a woman And has responsibilities to her children, that is true discrimination that she is true gender and class discrimination, that child care costs and wages are not reflective of each other. It also reflected a the problems with our education system that she was unable to pass required exams for collage entry.

What it was not about was criticising women world wide for having babies because they can't afford them. I highly suspect the single mother has become a mother due to isolation and loneliness and a lack of positive attachments from her own childhood and that is why our welfare and care system has a focus on children to help prevent and stop these cycles through out families and generations,hopefully giving her own children an even better chance than she has had.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 20-Nov-12 13:19:45

We shouldn't be viewing documentaries like this through arent we lucky eyes, we should be viewing them more critically with a global understanding of poverty and inequalities and the effects these have on children and becoming more politically aware. Someone said it up thread about looking at how raising standards in other countries should be the topic of debate not lowering our own support nets and medical standards.

I also wanted to ask if anyone knew if the us mother was left 4 days in a difficult labour because she had no insurance etc, and if she had insurance would she have relieved medical intervention. I felt it may be relent but it wasn't addressed really.

fromparistoberlin Tue 20-Nov-12 13:35:49

I think piedwagtail ahiould be a little bit ashamed of herself

fromparistoberlin Tue 20-Nov-12 13:35:58


MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 13:38:58

Good points, EnthusiasticTroll, and Farrows - I agree that it is maddening to see this reduced to 'she should have been more careful with contraception'.

Her daughter looked well-cared for, her house was tidy and clean, she was taking care of her health, and the health of her DDs.

Did no one pick up on her comment, 'I wanted someone to love, someone who would love me'.

My daughter doesn't need to have a baby to have someone to love, someone to love her because she has a supportive and loving family. Which is not to say that all young mums are from neglectful families, before anyone jumps on that, but she seemed very lonely. As someone said, at least Hawa who gave birth in her home village in Sierra Leone had support from other women.

It also struck me that at no point in the film were the women asked why they got pregnant, or if they had been using contraceptives. There was no blame apportioned, as there should not be.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 13:50:31

No I saw it as appreciating the medical safety net we have and questioning our support network.Couldn't give a stuff re how palatable that is for some.

I thought actually the doc showed us as being rather wasteful as a country.

Our NHS is our biggest asset and I strongly believe every single person should have free access to healthcare whatever the circumstances.However this free healthcare is being attacked by our debt and to be perfectly frank if we cut back on supporting girls being able to have as many kids as they like whilst staying on benefits as long as they like perhaps the NHS will stick around for longer.The fact is we're all growing older and the NHS is going to cost us more and more.

Decent medical with free access is what cuts maternal/infant mortality.

We don't know the ins and outs re the girl in question.Maybe she has a mother or her partners mother that could help out with childcare.Maybe she could get back to the books and keep trying until she gets that exam.Maybe she had a 2nd child because she knew the state would support her(it aint that difficult to get contraception and living in the UK you get it free).1 set of childcare bills is a whole less than one.

Mothers all over the world have to take responsibility for their children and face danger in childbirth.Where we are born has a huge impact on life expectancy-access to healthcare is the single most important thing.I feel this doc highlighted how perhaps we don't appreciate what we have in this country and focus far too little on what we take for granted-maybe that is what they set out to do.

Living in a 1 room or a house the fact of the matter is if you have access to free healthcare your chances of living longer increase dramatically.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 20-Nov-12 14:03:51

Maybe polkadot, when you put it like that, it does make sence that the dr did highlite somehow that welfare and access to healthcare is taken for granted.

I'm not sure the uk mum did much support, I wasn't sure if she was on the bus going to the hospital in labour alone or if it was just edited that way, she certainly appeared to be on her own whilst giving birth and coming home in the taxi. I personaly got the impression she didnt really have anyone to help. She mentioned her mum and sister but it was difficult to see how much support she had.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 14:15:55

It comes down to the fact that we have a welfare safety net, and they are struggling even to get an emergency gynae care. It is comparing apples with pears, really.

'Is it worse to be born poor, or to die poor?', was the question.

In comparison to those born in more affluent households, no matter if we are talking of UK or Sierra Leone, being born poor gives children a bad start in life, that many will never overcome.

We can't compare the life of a poor single mum in UK with that of a single mum in Cambodia, but we can compare her life with that of a more affluent mum in UK.

When I compare the life that my children lead, with the life that her children will lead, I can clearly see that my children have an advantage. And we are by no means rich!

PiedWagtail Tue 20-Nov-12 14:17:42

Treats - you're absolutely right. The role of men in just about all of the scenarios last night was totally appalling - where were they? They just weren't there. The women were left with the baby every time.

Mme Lindor - I wasn't reducing it to contraception - that was only one of my points. I didn't pick up on 'I wanted someone to love, someone who would love me'. How sad.

Farrow - 'Unbelievable that indignation about the situation of the UK single mother is your primary response to the programme, piedwagtail. Absolutely unbelievable.' - it wasn't my primary response, thanks, Farrow.

Perhaps it was the point that was easiest for me to make because my other reactions were too, I don't know, difficult to write here. Sorry if I have given anyone the wrong impression.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 14:19:25

The thing is I wonder if anybody lambasting posters raising this question have had to access the NHS recently and found it wanting.My family has twice recently.In both situations the dep funding has been cut and both of the problems happening in our family were getting worse by waiting-a lot worse.One involved an oap.

My father paid for both to go private(I was one of them).Now I am lucky my father could pay.My consultant commented on how much worse my situation was by waiting and that I shouldn't have had to pay,ditto the oap involved.

It's only when you need the NHS quickly do you realise how scary it is when it's not doing what is should do.We should be keeping a far closer eye on it.It's becoming privatised under our very noses. Maybe we'll move closer to the US style and they'll move closer to ours. Lets hope the maternal/infant death rates don't get closer too(there are questions all over Google as to wether Obamacare will help cut the US maternal mortality rates).

The people likely to be most directly affected by this are the young lady and her children highlighted in the documentary. Looking at our welfare system is in their interest too,probably more so-I doubt she has a father able to pay medical bills if they're needed.

Would be soooo nice if there could be a discussion just for once re this subject that didn't involve cries of benefit bashing/DM readers if anybody so much as questions looking at benefits of any kind.

fromparistoberlin Tue 20-Nov-12 14:25:02


of course I have had issues with the NHS, I appreciate it AND i can see it has many many limitations

but nonethless I dont see the link between this, and lambasting a single mother

and again I am disgusted that a film about maternal and foetal mortality turned into this

people depress me

'The fact is we're all growing older and the NHS is going to cost us more and more.'

That isn't a fact. People born between the wars are living a long time. Those that followed (reaching pension age atm) are actually dropping like flies.

But don't let the truth stop you from justifying cuts to the NHS.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 14:26:58

Oh and I doubt they'll be handing out free housing and other benefits with Obamacare. The reason there is hope that Obamacare could cut mortality rates is because having access to decent healthcare is what cuts infant/maternal mortality even things like post partum checks which we take for granted.

We should be focusing on maintaining our NHS and questioning/cutting back elsewhere.

We simply can't have it all.The money isn't there.Putting ones head in the sand as a nation is only going to have the worse impact on our poorest.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 14:30:06

Starlight a third of babies born in 2013 will live to 100(widely reported recently)-that is staggering and scary.

From kind of hmmthat having a frank discussion depresses you but hey ho-reality an be stark.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 14:33:29

I still think that you are missing the point of this documentary.

It is not about the NHS, and although I agree there are reforms needed in both our welfare state, and to the NHS this should not be the focus of the discussion.

I am sorry that you have had negative experiences with the NHS, but these women are dying. Not as a one-off because of a mistake made by an overworked consultant, or because treatment was delayed.

Regularly. Daily. Hourly.

They are dying because they don't have emergency health care. For the cost of a loaf of bread in UK, they are dying.

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 14:33:45

I don't believe people have more children because of the good support single parent families have, here in Sweden the support for all families (not just poor single parent families) is much more generous than that in the UK but the birth rate is lower.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 20-Nov-12 14:35:17

there's no way i would watch this but this discussion is interesting -
an acquanitance came to the NHS as a MW who had practiced in papua new guinea - she found the NHS shocking in some ways (rates of intervention, lack of Mw skill) and in others comforting (having been delivering babies without any options other than MW tactics, the obstetric options made a welcome safety net)

i don't think we should be uncritical of our own system just because it's worse elsewhere.

i would love to see more outreach from wealthy nations to help women and children overseas - it seems quite often what is missing are routine, cheap types of care that could make a huge difference.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 14:35:55

I am sorry that you found the programme so upsetting. I don't think anyone was unaffected by it.

I mentioned the contraception because it irks me that women are blamed for getting pregnant, and because it wasn't really the focus of this programme.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 14:39:49

i would love to see more outreach from wealthy nations to help women and children overseas - it seems quite often what is missing are routine, cheap types of care that could make a huge difference

Edgar - the cost of intervention is often very low. I met women in Kenya who had formed a collective to buy rain water tanks, to save the lives of the children of the village, many of whom were dying of D&V bugs. The tanks cost $100 - and these women saved for months to buy each family one.

Just watched it on iPlayer, amazing bit of film making. I have a friend who works in this field and I just have so much respect for her, makes what I do look utterly completely and totally pointless. Which it is, actually.

One thing that really struck me was that there are a lot of women on here who feel traumatised by their birth experience, which is entirely understandable, and I did feel that while the MsF doctors were doing an incredible job of saving lives it looked like the women in the SL delivery theatre didn't have any emotional support. I know it's going to be so so far down the list of priorities in a country with such high infant and maternal mortality rates, but I just felt desperately sad that they were going through it all with no one to hold their hand and explain what was happening, or seeing their stillborn babies whisked past them (couldn't tell how many ops were done whilst conscious). The singing midwife was amazing, it would be great if theere could be more lay volunteers on the pastoral side <hopelessly idealistic emoticon>.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 14:42:44

MMe these delays weren't minor or mistakes.They were due to money not being there,end of and to quote my consultant"things are only going to get worse".

No I didn't miss the point of the doc.

The point was where you live has a huge impact on wether you'll survive childbirth,how long you'll live, how long babies will live.It also highlighted the differences to some degree in being poor in each country.

It raised questions (re the NHS) as a good documentary always does.

I went to bed reeling last night after watching this - it was jaw droppingly sad and some of those statistics are terrifying. I have made a donation to MSF and would dearly love to do the same for somewhere in Cambodia - that little boy was the bravest soul ever. My DS3 is 13 and the thought of him having to take responsibility for 3 other people at his age is mind boggling.

The sadness shown by the MSF doctors when they were dealing with the uterus rupture and lost baby was touching, they must see things like that so often and yet are obviously deeply affected each time.

I feel very inadequate at what I have achieved in this world when you see people like those working so hard for others.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 14:47:21

The msf doctor was amazing-he obviously deeply cared.I hope he gets support emotionally doing what he does.

mumwithtwokids Tue 20-Nov-12 15:08:25

Everyone will have have different point of view about the documentary. I'll tell you what went through my head when I watched it:

- This is how my parent's grew up no money, barely any food or prospects. But they've worked hard and found a new life elsewhere to ensure I had a chance in life.

- How lucky we are to have doctor's, nurses and hospitals. I recently had a serious accident and the lovely people at NHS direct and my local hospital saved my life.

- How lucky my DS was when he was born prematurely and was able to receive the care he needed.

- How so fortunate we are that healthcare is available to us all for free.

- How heartbreaking that there is still so much poverty in the world which is caused by greed and corruption.

- How heartbreaking that these women are still not getting the basic help they need and are still struggling to feed themselves and their children yet everyday they do whatever it takes to get some food on the table because if they don't no one will. These women still have hopes and dreams for their children and pray that they come true.

- How shocking that living in a developed country there are people who cannot or chose not to take responsibility for their actions. Who have children and yet expect the state to pic up the tab and put a roof over their head because it's their human right.

- How there are real cases of extreme poverty in this country too which people don't even know about or choose to ignore.

- How when having free education in this country there seems to be more and more children coming out of school who can barely read or write.

- How we are raising a generation who have no respect for themselves or other's and as a whole no ambition or drive in life.

- How this time next week the issues raised in this program will be a distant memory for many.

fromparistoberlin Tue 20-Nov-12 15:11:07

- How we are raising a generation who have no respect for themselves or other's and as a whole no ambition or drive in life.

are we? thats a rather harsh, sweeping and in my opinion inaccurate view

a whole generation confused

farrowandballs Tue 20-Nov-12 15:11:54

piedwagtail sorry, I guess that was just what stood out to me from your posts.
Anyway, I have been looking on twitter and the filming was supported by and made possible by Unicef. If anyone feels moved to do something, you can donate here

LittenTree Tue 20-Nov-12 15:16:18

I haven't seen the doco (have recorded it to watch when the DCs are in bed).

I must admit I thought, perhaps mistakenly, that the documentary series was examining poverty and the causes of poverty- the title, "Four born every second" does imply that this programme would be examining over-population, doesn't it?

A horrible but salient 'fact' remains that if many more of these poor DC (and their mothers) lived, the majority of the populations of these deeply impoverished countries would face a future of starvation and their populations initially exploded. It has been shown that once you create security, some equality and stability in a country, its population stabilised and everyone's wealth increases.

The problem was and is poor governance, corruption and no respect for the Law in each country concerned. That is essentially why so many people are forced to live like this.

That doesn't mean I shrug my shoulders, far from it- but I don't know of any solutions that don't involve invasion. Particularly now that the Chinese are effectively buying up the 3rd world. Their 'aid' doesn't come with strings attached like free and fair elections, stamping out corruption etc. Unfortunately, just as the west was maybe, just maybe 'grown up' enough to begin to understand that all of our futures are bound up with every one else's, our star is on the (financial, which equals power and influence) wane. And it is no surprise that all these women (as I have read on here) seem completely unsupported by menfolk. It is, after all, pretty universally the greed of the menfolk (ie our leaders) which allow such abject poverty to go on and on into the 21st century.

LittenTree Tue 20-Nov-12 15:18:58

Please note: I didn't say 'all men are to blame for this' just that 'those who are to blame for this tend to be overwhelmingly men'!

MargeySimpson Tue 20-Nov-12 15:19:38

One in 8 women die in childbirth? that is AWFUL. this is what annoys me about alot of my friends at my breastfeeding group who all had 'natural/home/water births' who talk as though it was the best thing in the world, knowing i had the most medicated birth possible (sytocin induction, forceps, epidural and spinal block!) if these kinds of treatments werren't availble me and DS would of died.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 15:35:03

no, it focusses on how being born in poverty means for many babies not being born at all, or at the cost of the mother's life or health.

Many of the women who survive do so with terrible birth injuries, such as fistula, which make them pariahs in their villages.

The key to improving these women's lives is providing contraceptives, so that they don't have to keep having babies, and providing emergency health care so that if they do get pregnant, they and their babies survive the pregnancy.

I wrote this for the Gates Foundation on this topic.

Gates are one of the funders of this project, btw.

nannyl Tue 20-Nov-12 15:56:16

I just watched it on iplayer

wow, shocking, and made me cry many times

Im all for natural births and was lucky enough to have my baby easily at home..... but boy am i greatful for the ambulences and excellent care that was avaliable to me a short-ish drive away should i have needed it

thankfully I was lucky to have a baby head down, ready to go with my placenta in a safe place, and it was the antenatal care that meant i knew that too.

ConferencePear Tue 20-Nov-12 16:04:41

I too found this programme deeply disturbing. The first thing that it brought home to me is that those of us in the UK should treasure the NHS. This is not to say that it’s perfect and that we shouldn’t strive to make it even better, but we should appreciate it and not mind paying for it.
Secondly, I rather hoped that it might be shown in the USA because I can’t believe that people there really want to have the worst maternal and infant mortality death rate in the developed world. Perhaps they could be brought to understand that having the NHS doesn’t turn us all into communists.
For the other countries they should be criticised loud and long and their leaders frequently asked what they are doing to improve the lot of their womenfolk. It should be a subject high on the agenda in the United Nations.
I don’t agree that saving more children will necessarily add to the world population in the long run. One of the poor women in the film said that she was having lots of children in the hope that one of them would be lucky enough to be able to support the rest of the family. Educated women have smaller families and that in addition to improved health care we should be encouraging education, perhaps especially for girls.
I find it very sad that some contributors here have used this to criticise particular groups; we are all mothers and in some sense ‘all in this together’.

LittenTree Tue 20-Nov-12 16:36:13

*Mme Lindor*- of course, in many 'traditional' cultures, contraception is frowned upon if not actually illegal. The Big Man demonstrates his fertility and manliness by how many DC (read: sons?) he has.

Of course 'an answer' is educating women, conferencepear, providing the menfolk allow their DDs to get an education and their mothers do not worry that being 'too clever' will make them unmarriageable.

And it can take a generation for the positive effects of female education, widespread use of contraception and a feeling of security sufficient that you don't keep on having DC to ensure at least one can survive to support you in old age. That's another generation of want and poverty. So maybe not your 'long run' but a sufficient time scale to partially negate the above benefits. Did I read somewhere that the population of the Horn of Africa has quadrupled between BandAid, 25 years ago, and the latest humanitarian catastrophe?

As for 'criticising' particular groups, well, the problem you'll have is that 'being a mum' doesn't actually bind us to one, big, happy cooperative. We all function, as mothers or otherwise, within the boundaries and confines of our own cultures and backgrounds. We can all feel deep, individual sympathy for each and every one of these women, but the fact remains, some have the luxury of choice, some don't.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 20-Nov-12 17:03:55

Mme do you think there is the notion that many woman will still not use contraception, in the hope that that the skills that a child may have may lift them out of thier situation and as one child dies they will have another to increase productivity of the family? not sure i worded that too well, but one of the woman said she will continue to have babies because on day one of them may be educated and go overseas to support her. I think that is quite an important point when considering health education and availability of contraception, will there be the demand and uptake of these resources?

SuePurblybiltbyElves Tue 20-Nov-12 17:17:26

Marking place, it's on my to-do list.

Mum2Luke Tue 20-Nov-12 17:19:17

I saw this and cried, that poor boy having to scavenge for tins and rubbish to sell to buy rice, he should be learning in school sad and when his baby sister died I had to turn off.

We are so lucky to have the NHS.

Will be watching the next one.

I hadn't heard of this until just now and am currently at war with myself to watch it. I know through this thread that it will be shocking and harrowing and I'm shying away from seeing that, but on the other hand I feel I ought to watch it to truely understand the horrors faced by other mothers and babies across the world.

notts04 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:53:07

O is it a series. Must watch this.

OneMoreGo Tue 20-Nov-12 18:06:54

I cried buckets during and after this prog and came on here hoping that someone knew of a way we could donate money to that poor boy who had to scavenge and who looked after his mum so sweetly. My heart ached for him.
I'm so grateful for the NHS and although I moan about my medicalised labour and birth with DS, I know that without it all we would both have both died sad

Heavywheezing Tue 20-Nov-12 18:08:04

It would be nice if mumsnet as a whole could sponsor a medical facility in Sierra leone.
Sort of , one mother to another.

LittenTree Tue 20-Nov-12 18:49:27

HeavyWheezing- that's an idea, actually! (sponsoring a clinic or hospital). As you may have seen before, I am not 'all mums in it together' person but yes, we could do that. Esp as MN does have a certain 'profile'.

But what we need to do is to lobby our MPs and others in positions of authority to make the plight of women a top priority in the UN. We, actually, have waaaay more clout than we think, but, globally, of course, if we western women flex our muscle, our menfolk will glower and not like it and so forth (though my DH would be helping me sew the banners, tbf!)whereas the menfolk of some of these third world countries will actually kill their women for daring to disobey. (Didn't the women of Iceland go on a no-sex strike a few years ago for something and won? However, that's Iceland which either now has or recently had a female president, prime minister and chancellor simultaneously... so not Sierra Leone!). And isn't there a local bank in India which has a policy of only making small loans to women in recognition that they are the powerhouses of entrepreneurialism with far more to lose (their DCs futures) than their sometimes feckless DHs?

We need to turns our tears into action.

As an observational aside, regarding the endless reproduction of DC in order one hopes one will succeed, I watched, yesterday (recorded) the doco 'India' which is actually designed not as a 'poor us/pity us' thing, but as a 'look at us- despite real poverty and hardship, we're 'can-do''- where there were parents who in as many words said 'We favour our son 'x' (at college doing IT) as he is most likely to succeed (financially) and bring us all out of this poverty'- said in front of his brother who wants to 'make it' in acting and modelling. So it's a developing world as well as 3rd world issue.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 19:10:01

If you read the link I posted earlier to the Gates Foundation blog, you will see that there are women who have grown up children who have learned 20 years ago the value of contraception. The second woman I interviewed, Jane, was healthy and glowing. She has three kids, spaced over 10 years.

The trick is to show other women how their lives could change if they, like Jane, have fewer DC. She had a cow, and sold milk and the produce from their farm to earn a little money. School is officially free in Kenya, but the DC have to buy uniforms so some DC don't go to school if the parents can't afford uniforms.

One of the projects that we saw was creation of health centres, offering free health checks and vaccinations to children, which brought the women together. When you get them together, they chat. I compared the centre that I saw that day to a RL Mumsnet, with women comparing their DC and asking each other advice, having a giggle and letting the kids play for a while.

Giving them this place to meet, means the health workers can have a chat about contraception and give advice. When they see someone like Jane, then they are encouraged to go for it.

It does have to go hand in hand with advances in health care and sanitary conditions. The biggest killer of babies and toddlers isn't TB or HIV. It is D&V bugs. Which is why clean water is vital.

'They call to us in the evening, and in the morning they are dead', one woman said to us.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 19:23:25

I asked MSF about that, and they said that they don't ask for donations to any particular project -- this from their website

Yes, there are issues getting the men to accept contraception, which is why some women favour the implant. Many groups are working in communities against this.

Littentree / Heavywheezing
I am in favour of donating to a project, but I must admit that I am very cautious about which projects I donate to. We heard ridiculous stats about how many people live in one of Nairobi's slums, and how many NGOs work there. There is an old saying, 'never believe a statistic that you haven't falsified yourself'. I also saw great projects, and frankly very questionable projects, and as an outsider it is sometimes very difficult to tell the difference.

I am also very wary of the many people who see this kind of programme, and then think, 'I will set up an NGO and raise money for this project', as I believe it is much better to work with the charities who are already established in the country.

The new set up Catapult is one that I am supporting at the moment. It was funded by the Gates Foundation, and the projects are thoroughly vetted before being accepted. The focus is squarely on women and girls, be it education, maternity services, sanitation, gender based violence...

If you would like to join us on TeamMumsnet we could work together. I will start a new thread in Charities for this, I think, and leave this one for chat about the programme.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 19:24:28

Sorry, here is the info from MSF

"Thank you, also, for your interest in supporting our work. Contributions from private supporters allow MSF to operate independently and respond at a moment's notice to the most urgent emergencies, often in countries and regions that are otherwise forgotten, so we are truly grateful for your support of our programs.

While it is possible to have a contribution directed toward a specific purpose, we do ask that you consider allowing us to use your contribution where the needs are the greatest. By not restricting your contribution for a specific project, you will enable us to allocate our resources more efficiently to the people most in need. MSF's mission is to provide emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters, or exclusion from health care, so it is essential that we have general funds available to respond to emergencies as they arise or new projects as they become necessary."

Also, free school is no good to a child who has to either work or help with the family.

Nancy66 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:33:25

I've been looking into charities in Cambodia that help children and I really like the sound of the one I've linked to below. You can sponser a class, sponsor a particular family or child and it seems you are allowed direct contact with those you sponsor.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 19:49:17
TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 20-Nov-12 19:50:30

Thanks for that info, I didn't open any of the links so far. I will do though.

minifingers Tue 20-Nov-12 21:13:11

"One in 8 women die in childbirth? that is AWFUL. this is what annoys me about alot of my friends at my breastfeeding group who all had 'natural/home/water births' who talk as though it was the best thing in the world"

The maternal mortality rates in these countries are vastly worse than ours was in the UK in the 1950's when we had a 2% c-section rate. sad

What kills these women in such huge numbers is poverty, lack of general health care and lack of even basically trained birth attendants.

What I find tragic and ironic is how our system in the west wastes huge sums of money on over testing and over treating healthy pregnant women, while women in developing countries are dying for want of the basic attentions of a midwife.

FlamingoBingo Tue 20-Nov-12 21:49:16

My cousin spent the summer volunteering with a midwifery team in Cambodia this year. I'm madly proud of her. She's worked in orphanages in Kenya and Uganda as well in the past.

Just watched the programme, and my admiration for her and all the other people who work in these countries has increased ten-fold.

FlamingoBingo Tue 20-Nov-12 21:53:09

And could anyone let me know if there are any good resources for our over-privileged children to access?

I want my children to understand how lucky they are and really live their lives with gratitude, and to want to help and know how best to help less fortunate people around the world. And I'd love it to not come from me ie. apart from First News (which my children read) what else is there that will inspire children to make a difference?

It's not good enough, IMO, to just shock adults into action - we need the next generation growing up understanding the injustice and knowing what to do to change things.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 22:07:55

Mini "overtesting" saves lives and many women in the poorer countries highlighted wouldn't have arrived in such a bad way if routine "tests" as you put it were carried out beforehand.How exactly do you "overtreat"?hmm

It's not poverty that kills these women and babies but lack of access to decent healthcare.

I don't live in poverty but if I didn't have access to decent healthcare and hadn't had half the "tests" and "treatments" I had when pg I and none of my children would be here today.

PolkadotCircus Tue 20-Nov-12 22:10:14

Flamingo I don't have any fancy expensive resources,my kids just know.It's how you raise them and it doesn't need to cost anything,it's values.

nannyl Tue 20-Nov-12 22:14:47


you realise that giving birth at home in this country is at least as safe (and on many levels SAFER) than choosing to go to a hospital......?

because you get 2 midwifes.... and if there are problems are transfered by ambulence to hospital? (you dont just lie there and die)

That is why unassisted births are illegal in this country... but a planned homebirth is as safe for low risk mothers.....
many of whom know they are low risk because of the antenatal care they have had....

butterfingerz Tue 20-Nov-12 22:19:10

Its not about 'treasuring' the NHS, the NHS is in dire straits right now... anyone that has used it recently or works for it will know this.

Don't treasure it, fight for it, insist that it is constantly improving.

minifingers Tue 20-Nov-12 22:29:28

Polka - the amount of antenatal testing in the UK has gone up massively even in the past 13 years since I had my first child. Was the UK a dangerous place to have a baby 13 years ago?

And it is a lack of basic health care and poverty that is killing these women in massive numbers. Poor nutrition in childhood and pregnancy during early adolescence resulting in contracted pelves, infibulation, malaria, severe anaemia. It's not just the intrinsic danger of birth. If this was the case we would have had large numbers of women in the UK dying in the 1950's when c/s were incredibly low and most women had their babies at home.

The point I'm making is that large numbers of these deaths would be preventable without having to herd all these women into high tech hospitals.

Would also add that when someone did a thread here entitled 'would you have died in childbirth two hundred years ago?' the number of mumsnetters who believed they would have died in childbirth in the past would have suggested a maternal mortality rate among the mainly healthy and wealthy posters on this site of about 3 times that of 20th century Congo...

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 22:37:20

I have PMed you. It is valid question. How do we get our kids involved. Like Polka says, a part of it is being a good example. So, we often stop and give donations or put some cash into the hat of homeless people on the street.

But it is also good to get kids thinking about people in other countries. I showed my kids pics of my trip to Kenya, and will be speaking to their school class about it too.

Mini / Polka
It is poverty that kills these women, because if they had money they would pay for decent health care. There are hospitals in Nairobi where our driver said he would never take his wife to, but the poorest in the city have to go there as they have no other choice.

notnagging Tue 20-Nov-12 22:38:49

The lady from Cambodia must have been pre tested as she seemed to go in for a scheduled csection? The dr said to her son tell her to take the pills like last time?

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 22:38:56

Ha. Mini. Don't ever have a baby in Germany, if you think UK is bad.

I had many more tests and scans in Germany that is common here.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 22:40:45

She would have had to stick to a strict regime when taking the pills, NotNagging, to prevent transmitting HIV to her baby. They would have tested her for HIV when her pregnancy was confirmed, I presume.

notnagging Tue 20-Nov-12 22:41:34

The interesting point if this documentary was that the same thing is happening to women all over the world not just 'poorer' countries. It made some important points about wealth distribution. I found it especially interesting that the USA has an increasing level of infant mortality, one if the richest nations in the world.

FlamingoBingo Tue 20-Nov-12 22:46:43

Polka. Sorry I have PMT and no patience, so my initial repsonse to your repky was 'no shit!'

Maybe it wasn't clear in my post, but I am a responsible parent who brings my children up with the right values. They are not spoiled. But children find it very hard to understand why their lives are so priviliged, however much you tell them. They are too young to imagine a life so vastly different to their own, and need sensitive ways to learn about it. By sensitive, I don't mean in a protective way, but in a way that makes sure not to just make them switch off, as happened to me when I heard one too many times 'don't say you're starving! You don't know the meaning of it!' Etc.

My children have parents who volunteer, who give money when we can, and who explain these things to our children. But how much more powerful it is for kids to learn these things themselves than just being spoonfed it by zealous parents?

Quodlibet Tue 20-Nov-12 23:31:18

This is maybe nit-picking but I am confused about the 1 in 8 women statistic.

Does it mean: 1 in 8 births ends in a maternal death

or: 1 in 8 women (who might have already borne 5/6/7 children) will die of a childbirth complication?

(either is horrifically high, obviously, it's just not really clear to me what that statistic really means).

One thing I thought so poignant about that documentary was the woman in Sierra Leone talking about her hope that one of her children would one day travel overseas and lift her out of poverty. It must be so rare that that happens, but those few who do must inspire so many children to be born with that hope attached to them, only to live out another life of extreme poverty and repeat the cycle. Is having children a source of optimism for these women? Is this another reason why encouraging contraception/limiting family size in these places is so difficult?

duchesse Tue 20-Nov-12 23:33:39

mini- of course a great many people responded yes on that thread! You don't generally get people going onto a thread of that nature to say "actually, no, I had easy births and not a hint of risk".

Also I think it's worth considering that medical intervention that doesn't kill the mother and/or baby has been available in the developed world including the UK for three generations, which might conceivably be contributing to retaining certain attributes that might otherwise be lost through "natural selection", in other words maternal and infant mortality.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 23:57:55

Not 1 in 8 pregnancies, but 1 in 8 women die in childbirth.

So if a woman has 5 or 6 births, often very close gaps between children, she gets weaker and weaker over the years.

The interview I posted earlier with the film-maker, Brian Hill - he said that in Sierra Leone everyone knows someone who has died in childbirth. It is very unusual in western countries, but part of life there.

duchesse Wed 21-Nov-12 00:18:40

33% of the population living to 100 is only scary if those people are in poor health. Since in all likelihood they will be the healthiest generation ever, will be working till they're over 80 (if retirement age is 70 now for people currently aged 30-40, it'll be way more than that by then), they will hardly be a burden in what will their late middle age!

honeytea Wed 21-Nov-12 07:42:01

The idea that lots of tests makes pregnancy safer is not true in Sweden where I live. A woman giving birth in Sweden is around 50% less likely to die in childbirth than a woman giving birth in the Uk, the infant mortality rate in twice as high in the UK.

In Sweden you get one scan at 20 weeks, the midwife listens to the baby's heartbeat at around 25 weeks, they take your blood sugar and blood preasure about once a month. There is little choice when it comes to birth, no water births, no home births. If you hae a high BMI they don't give you consultant care, no gestational diabetes test. Really it is all very very scarily hands off, but it seems to work. I know this is lots more testst than a woman in a developing country would have, but also lots less tests than a British woman would have.

Once the baby is born the "rules" are very relaxed, they suggest co-sleeping but don't tell you how to do it safely, no one even mentions formula feeding. The attitude is that you just need to get on with it.

I wonder if the maternal and infant deaths would be lower if the Swedes tested more like the NHS do.

PolkadotCircus Wed 21-Nov-12 08:02:00

Mini I disagree the MSf doc said a lot of these women wouldn't be in such a dire situation if they'd had the tests and pre-natal care before hand.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 21-Nov-12 11:15:01

I tried to watch this on Iplayer last night and after 10 mins was advised 'I didn't have enough band width'. Very frustrating. I will try again tonight as it looked very interesting and illuminating.

I am also rather dissapointed that the discussion on here is not about the global injustices of poverty, but rather that someone in the UK might have <gasp> children and be on benefits. Spectacularly missing the point I would say. Why not reserve your ire for the factors which lead 1 in 8 women to die in childbirth. Now that truly is shocking

ginnybag Wed 21-Nov-12 11:56:10

WRT different countries and different rates, has anyone ever factored in genotype?

(This is NOT a post about Race, btw, simply about genetic differential!)

There have been studies done on heart disease, cancer etc etc but not aware of one for pregnancy complications etc.

There are so many factors that it would be a tough one to trial, but hearing that Sweden does less in pregnancy and delivery but has better results than the UK makes me wonder. Sweden is more genotype homogeneous than the UK, and definitely than the US. Is that a part of it? We had lower incidence rates 60 years ago, when communities were smaller and the population less diverse. What about the US? Canada? Australia?

Is there an equivalent '3rd world' country that shows better results, despite similar conditions.

I remember reading something, somewhere, years ago about the 'order' in which newborns were 'hardiest', and caucasian female babies did best.

I ask the question because I'm wondering if, by some bastard twist, the very women and children with the most against them background wise, and the least access to compensating factors are also the ones most likely disposed to issues.

And I ask, because it might be another way to tackle it. Poverty in Africa won't make the headlines, something like this might, if only because some people need it to be relevant in their own back yard before they'll give a damn.

honeytea Wed 21-Nov-12 12:16:14

That's interesting Ginny.

Sweden is actually more diverse in terms of modern immigration than the UK, close to 20% of Swedes were born in a foreign country where as the UK figure is close to 10%. The climate is very harsh here so maybe the survival of the fittest has made the indigenous Swedes hardy people.

The level of poverty is low and the gap between rich and poor is smaller than the UK, maybe that makes a difference.

mumwithtwokids Wed 21-Nov-12 12:56:39

FunnysInLaJardin - The program highlighted so many things particular how tough and injust life is for so many mother's in other countries. Not only do they get zero help from the state but they and their children are also denied all aspect of basic healthcare however this problem has always been there. The whole benefits system in this country is a very sore point because it's terribly abused by some, not appreciated by others and those who desperately need help get f**k all - some of the things my husband has had to witness is absolutely disgraceful.

With regards to posts asking where the fathers are - some of these women have children through choice but there are also many who fall pregnant because they have been raped, sometimes this happens repeatedly and also affects children. Just before the world cup there was another documentary which was called 'The Real Johannesburgh' which focused on this problem. It's awful that women have to live this way.

MmeLindor Wed 21-Nov-12 12:58:57

That is an interesting point, Ginny. I haven't seen research on that, but will have a look.

I suspect though that you would have to look beyond maternal health care, eg average age of the mother, support in workplace, maternity leave, general health care when the mother was a child, nutrition etc

Perhaps the Swedes are more used to making decisions themselves, and trusting their instincts, rather than sticking to a prenatal health check chart.

I would also question how they deal with worries of the mother. Can they swiftly access a scan if they have concerns, and how does that compare with UK.

honeytea Wed 21-Nov-12 13:12:32

They are very very good in Sweden about giving scans if the mother is worried, although 1 scan is normal I have had a 12 week scan as I was worried about downs syndrome, also a 32 week scan because I was worried about the size of the baby's head, these are not routine scans but they were very kind and let me have them anyway.

olgaoctopus Wed 21-Nov-12 15:19:24

I would imagine the difference between Sweden and the UK is more to do with socio economic factors than medical care per se.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 21-Nov-12 22:22:54

I managed to watch all of it tonight. Stunning programme. And so sad about the poor baby in Cambodia.

The thing that struck me was how sad the Cambodian woman and her family looked. Far different from the others featured.

Medicins Sans Frontier do a fantastic job, and very telling that Sierra Leone is so rich yet it's citizens are living in the dark ages.

Something more must be done to redistribute wealth on a global scale.

MmeLindor Wed 21-Nov-12 22:35:44

I am guessing that they were still struggling with the abuse and abandonment of the father, and the fact that he had infected the mother with HIV. Poor little boy had a lot to deal with.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 21-Nov-12 22:47:02

yes Mme far more than a 12 yo boy should have to deal with.

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