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Life III Series
The Doctor's Story

The US debate over abortion has severe consequences for health care in rural Nepal.

A printer-friendly version of this page 23 minutes
Directed by Alex Gabbay
Produced by Television Trust for the Environment
Series Editor: Jenny Richards

In 2001 Dr. Gunraj Lohani trudged eight hours up a long misty trail from Diktel airport in eastern Nepal to take up residence in the local district hospital in Khotang - filled with a determination to bring change to the ailing local health services. For years, the lack of roads has kept most development and distribution of services away, and the brain drain to the cities has led to an acute shortage of professionals, especially doctors and nurses. With the doctor's arrival, things look set to change.

With as many as five out of every 200 women dying in childbirth, Nepal has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. In 2001, an estimated 10,600 women would have needed emergency obstetric care in just four out of Nepal's 75 districts. But only 452 of these women were seen by the hospitals.

This episode of LIFE explores the plight of Nepal's local health services, and links the situation to the Bush Administration, whose reinstatement of the 'global gag rule' has prohibited the U.S. government from funding any non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support abortion.

With thanks to the European Commission Directorate General for Development to promote better understanding of development issues; The World Health Organization; and UNICEF Nepal.

The other titles in this series are:

1. The Road from Rio - Questions the relevance and success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

2. Danger: Children at Work - Guatemalan agencies try to discourage child labor and fireworks production by poor families.

3. The Trade Trap - Ghanaian farmers struggle to get a foothold in the international market.

4. Kosovo: Rebuilding the Dream - Assesses the success of UN efforts in rebuilding Kosovo.

5. The Perfect Famine - Examines the causes of, and solutions to, severe famine conditions in Malawi.

6. It Takes a Village - A cyclone in Bangladesh results in the construction of an experimental community health center.

7. Seeing is Believing - Zambia begins a nationwide program to deliver Vitamin A to its population.

8. Cheated of Childhood - The International Labor Organization tries to rescue and rehabilitate the street children of St. Petersburg.

9. Patents and Patients - India battles HIV/AIDS using generic drugs.

11. Sowing Seeds of Hunger - The AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa has crippled the agricultural community while forcing children to undertake the responsibilities of farming.

12. Up in Smoke - Dependence on tobacco crops and manipulation by the tobacco industry has stunted the economy of Malawi.

Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2003     Copyright Date: 2002
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-126-6     VHS ISBN: 1-59458-009-X

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The Doctor's Story

Links (The producer's web site) (Producer's resources)

Awards and Festivals
Amnesty International Film Festival, University of South Carolina

Asian Studies
Developing World
Foreign Policy

Human Rights
International Studies
Reproductive Rights
Social Justice
Women's Studies

Related Titles

From Docklands to Dhaka
English MD travels to Bangladesh to improve community health.

An Act of Faith
A group of health professionals tours the most deprived regions of South Africa providing care.

When Abortion was Illegal
Devastating stories from the era of illegal abortion.

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