I just watched the documentary A Walk to Beautiful that portrays several women in Ethiopia who suffer from fistulas on their journey to a hospital, hoping to literally come back to life. It's very much worth watching, and you can find it on the PBS website at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/beautiful/program.html. Fistulas are one of the many health issues that are being neglected because they affect mostly poor women. You can read more about what fistulas are on the website of the Fistula Foundation (http://www.fistulafoundation.org/aboutfistula).

In the documentary, one of the doctors at the hospital explains that in Ethiopia, fistulas mainly occur because the women take on an incredible workload of physical labor so that even when they have access to a good, nutritious diet, so much of their energy goes right into the labor and very little into their bodies' development. By the time they usually get married - around 13 or 14 - they are very small for their age and their pelvic bones are too narrow for a baby to pass, which causes obstructed labor that can last for more than a week. After the traumatic experience of losing the baby, the woman then has to face social rejection by her family and social community because she is leaking urine. They live as outcasts, separated, depressed, alone, because they don't know that this is a common problem that can be healed. This is just so wrong on so many levels and for so many reasons. Two to three million women in the world live with obstetric fistulas.

What other health issues do you know of that we don't hear enough about?


My dear friend, I will fist commend you for being concerned about our plight, it is either this or another in our Wowrld and to make matter worst it is mainly women and children that suffer from these diseases and man made illnesses, in Nigeria because many children are married off at an early age, they suffer so much and because the culture and religion allows it most people will keep mute, recently a one time governor from Zamfara in Northern Nigeria married a 13 year old girl and I read that the Northern elders said that their religion supports just as if it is not the same religion that made the Egyptian government to pursue teh erring governor out of Egypt when he planned to wed the child there, he did it again just because when he first married a 15 year old girl some years back nobody blinked and eye, now the world is watching...... Thanks friend, may God save women and their girls.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Thank you so much for responding, Olutosin! Do you remember the name of the governor? And what religion is it that is used to justify marriage to such a young girl? I am interested in knowing more about this issue.

That is his name and he was the first governor to start Sharia law in Northern Nigeria.presently he is a senator in Nigeria. There was some agitation but it died down after some time.....You can google it out and it will give some more information

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

I found lots of articles and comments online, all of them supporting the charges against Mr. Yerima. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions, Olutosin, I know you have a lot of important work to do and I appreciate your time a lot.

Dear Lilith,

Thank you so much for sharing this, I'm going to watch A Walk to Beautiful as soon as I get the chance to. Recently I've watched the documentary "No Women No Cry" by American supermodel Christy Turlington Burns. The movie shows the stories of a few destitute women living in Bangladesh, Brazil and some African countries, particularly the challenges they are dealing with while being pregnant. Each story in the movie is very touching and shoking, it's hard to believe that even today so many women lack access to basic health care facilities, and so many women choose to give birth to a baby at home because they are enjoined by their societies from delivering at hospitals. As far as I know the documentary is still unreleased, I saw it in a private screening, but it's totally worth watching!

Hello Anna, I found the website to the film you mention: www.everymothercounts.org. Thank you for recommending it! I hope I will get a chance to see the whole documentary - it looks like the film is traveling to different theaters, but the schedule is not available right now. There is a petition you can sign to ask for more funding for maternal health care as a step toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals - but I am wondering how much weight those goals really carry...

There is another film, The Business of Being Born, that is about the maternal health care system in the US.

Personally, if I ever have a child, which I highly doubt, but if I ever do...I would want to be at home with a doula and a birthing tank. There is something really unsettling to me about having a child in the hospital and having it taken away and not being able to hold it and stay closely united right after birth.

My friend has 2 sons. She had her first in a hospital and her second at a birthing center. She said the experiences were completely different and if she ever had another child she would give birth in a birthing center. I know when we talk about maternal mortality, in other countries we are considering much different issues. Access and preference are two totally different topics....If all women had access to resources/facilities, but they could also choose a midwife/birthing center, then it would rely on preference. The problem is lack of access to any facilities in many locations which leads to maternal mortality being one of the key issues we should be focusing on globally.

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

But so needed at the same time. My heart went out for this women. And it is SO revolting that people have to suffer with illnesses that can be so easily solved... It's heartbreaking! I kind watch a lot of movies... If you want a list: Forbidden Lies, Very Young Girls ,The Journey (it is a gut-wrenching short on sex traffic), Deliver us from Evil, Good Hair (I'm not very in to Chris Rock, but his documentary was actually very good), Jesus Camp, Luchadoras and Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss.

Oh! This film made me cry throughout most of it. Three other documentaries I had to watch:

A Jihad for Love For the Bible Tells Me So Fish Out of Water

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

You should post those to the Book, Music and Film group, too - or maybe start a documentary group... I'll add them to my list for the fall, too. Thank you, Mei Li! Andrea

Hello Natasha, thank you for watching the film! I felt the same way - heartbroken - but also empowered because the procedures it takes to give the women their lives back are not that complicated or expensive, so there is hope that by supporting organizations that take charge of these issue we can really DO something. Thank you also for sharing your film recommendations - I will spend a couple of nights with those.