During the summer of 2014, I am taking an online course in Global Health from Stanford University taught by Anne Firth Murray entitled, "International Women's Health and Human Rights" (IWHHR). I will be posting my reflective writing assignments from each week's course of study. All writings can be found under the tag IWHHR. Details on the course can be found here.
If you are interested in taking this or another course, you can find a listing of the online courses offered by Stanford here. From economics to cryptography, courses are added each semester.
THOUGHT QUESTION, WEEK FOUR ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
How do the themes and issues raised in the short film, "Why Did Mrs. X Die?" correspond to the conditions in your country? Do you know anyone who has experienced or dealt with these conditions?
"Mrs. X didn't only die of a hemorrhage. She also died of social injustice."
The remake of the short animated film "Why Did Mrs. X Die?" is a great teaching tool for women in poor areas of the world. I was impressed with the information and the way it was presented. The music and the drawings are pleasing to the ear and eye and drew me into her story.
Mrs. X encountered so many barriers along her path of pregnancy keeping her from getting the help she needed to have a health pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. These barriers: lack of doctor visits, lack of access to midwives and doctors, lack of blood, lack of transportation to the hospital, illiteracy and lack of education, poverty, living in a remote village, gender inequality causing women to be the last to receive food are all barriers to a healthy pregnancy
Mrs. X could be any woman in any country, but most likely from a poor or remote area. I do not know anyone, personally, who has met ALL of these barriers, but I have known women who find themselves pregnant without the finances or insurance that would enable them to visit the doctor regularly and get the care they need during pregnancy.
This movie was an eye-opener for me to all the things that I take for granted living in the United States. Opportunity for education, employment, and medical access is fairly universal. Certainly there are inequities, but I feel for the most part you can find what you need and find a way to get it. Now, this may not be the case for those in the poorest of circumstances in the U.S., but the chance to overcome the barriers presented in the film seems far more attainable in the U.S. than it might in other developing countries.
Enlightening it was to think that these barriers actually started when she was just a child before she even thought about having babies of her own. Education. Gender equality in family. The more I hear about stories like the story of Mrs. X, the more I realize how privileged and blessed I have been to grow up where I did and with the family I did. This makes me grateful and in return, makes me want to help and reach out. As the narrator of the film said, "It is up to all of us, no matter where we live, who we are, or what we do to help remove these barriers for Mrs. X and the millions of pregnant women like her." Dr. Mahmoud Fathalla said this is a call to action for all who care.