WIDE ANGLE travels to Mozambique, where a bold grassroots initiative to train midwives in advanced life-saving surgery has significantly reduced the country’s maternal death rate.
Birth of a Surgeon follows Emilia Cumbane, one of the first midwives-in-training. She performs Cesarean sections and hysterectomies in makeshift operating rooms in rural Mozambique. We follow Cumbane from her home in the Mozambican capital Maputo, into intensive medical classes, through night shifts in the delivery wards, and watch as she fights for recognition of her surgical competence.
Originally aired in 2008, for the episode’s 2009 encore presentation WIDE ANGLE host Aaron Brown meets with Cumbane to see how both she and the program are faring. Cumbane, now the head of the maternal ward, has a two-week-old baby herself, and Brown explores the successes and obstacles she has faced over the last year, as she has tried to juggle her personal and professional commitments, all the while working to help save women’s lives.