The Human Impact

Documentary exposes bloody reality of childbirth in the developing world

Under the bright lights of an operating table, 19-year-old Peum lies still as a gloved hand reaches through a long, wide and bloody cut in her belly and pulls a child from her womb.

I had to look away at first – I’d never witnessed a caesarean section before and although I’m only watching it on a computer screen, it’s still gruesome.

Films depicting this sort of scene usually show busy doctors handling instruments, nurses assisting them and the constant ‘beep’ of a heart rate monitor.

But in this documentary, called SISTER, first-time director Brenda Davis exposes the health risks faced by many pregnant women in developing countries. She turns the camera on women as they give birth and on the devoted health workers who deal with the blood and pain of childbirth in places where healthcare facilities are poor or non-existent.

The “operating theatre” where young Peum has her baby is little more than a room with a bed, a sink and a few instruments. It’s nothing like a clinic in the West.

Q+A: Turning London family planning summit into action

By Maria Caspani

LONDON (TrustLaw) – A major summit on family planning held in London on Wednesday secured enough funding to extend contraception to 120 million women in the developing world who want it but cannot get it.

Now that the money has been promised, what steps must be taken to ensure this global pledge translates into action to improve the lives of millions of women and children?

Tewodros Melesse, director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), spoke to TrustLaw about using the money effectively.