Segments in this Video

Highest Child Mortality Rates (04:03)


Childbirth should be a joyful event, but hundreds of thousands of women lose their babies and could die without modern medicine. In Bangladesh, many illnesses are left untreated. Marjana describes her background; her mother cuts tufts of grass to feed neighbor's cows to earn a living.

Suspicion of Modern Medicine (05:06)

Dhais' methods are based upon tradition and hearsay. Musammat Sobura explains that she has a religious duty to save lives and says children disappear in hospitals. Mokbul Sharkar mourns the death of his wife.

Matlab Project (03:59)

Nayargao Health Center monitors women during pregnancy and provides medical care during childbirth. Rashida Matin receives regular checkups from a local health care worker who advises her to eat more frequently. Rural communities believe going to the hospital is unnecessary.

Two Different Labors (03:55)

The dhai's supplies include a piece of twine and a razor blade. Sobura encourages Marjana to give birth on her knees. Jahan-Ara Begum, a trained midwife, examines Matin and helps deliver a healthy baby girl.

Delivering the Placenta (03:44)

Marjana is encouraged to wretch by pushing her hair down her throat and eating burning chili pepper. Traditional rituals include cutting the umbilical cord and shaking the baby's limbs.

First Hours After Birth (03:55)

Begum informs Abdul that Matin has delivered a healthy baby girl and encourages the mother to breastfeed. Dhais believe that colostrum is dangerous for new babies and bury girl's placentas within the home.

ICCDR,B (06:06)

The Matlab project offering local medical care through pregnancy and birth. Goals include family planning and safer childbirth procedures. Dr. Mohammed Yunus explains why a training program for dhais failed; Biba Rani Das holds regular classes to inform pregnant women on the dangers of home birth.

Cultural Issues (06:13)

Kajolchandra Das and Moha Maya cook food in secret because a mother is not supposed to interfere in a married daughter's life. Das educates women is potential complications of labor. The family argues about the location of the birth.

Early Stages of Labor (04:10)

Das convinces the family to go to the hospital because Maya is so weak. The boat breaks down after the propeller runs into bamboo. The Matlab project sends a speed boat.

Maya Delivers (03:43)

Kajolchandra is not allowed in the delivery room. Maya's son would have died if she had a home birth. Matin introduces her baby girl to her friends and family.

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Fit for Life

Part of the Series : Survival
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Bangladesh has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. Children are most likely to die in their first month of life. We follow two young women in Bangladesh who face very different experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal care. While Morjina only receives support from a traditional dhai, Rashida is lucky enough to live close to a modern health clinic. This is a very moving account of child birth and the terrible consequences of lack of proper care and ignorance in one of the world's poorest countries.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL188154

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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