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July 12th, 2011
Birth of a Surgeon

“Tells an admirable story…. It is too early to gauge the long-term effects
of Mozambique’s program, but in the glimpse provided by this film, it seems full of possibilities.”
–The New York Times

“Feel-good programming that makes you think, too”
–Canwest News Service


Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s deadliest place to give birth. Each year over a quarter of a million women die in childbirth in the region. But Mozambique is combating high maternal death rates by implementing unconventional programs.

After the country declared its independence from 400 years of Portuguese rule in 1975, a civil war raged for 16 years, killing a million people and wrecking the country’s infrastructure. By the time the war ended in 1992, the health care system was devastated and one in ten women were dying in childbirth. There were only 18 obstetricians for a population of 19 million. Since then, Mozambique has cut the maternal death rate in half.

As the figures now stand, the country is one of the few countries on track to achieve the fifth United Nations Millennium Development goal to reduce the maternal death rate by 75 percent by 2015. In 2004, Mozambique introduced a new health care initiative to train midwives in emergency obstetric care in an attempt to guarantee access to quality medical care during pregnancy and childbirth.


The film Birth of a Surgeon follows Emilia Cumbane, one of the first midwives-in-training. She performs Cesareans 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.

With more than half a million women dying in pregnancy or childbirth worldwide, Mozambique’s surgical training programs are being hailed as a model solution in confronting the maternal health crisis facing developing countries. The film captures one woman’s story on the frontlines of improving maternal mortality but it also demonstrates how low-cost, community-based health initiatives are changing the face of public health in Africa.

“I like to be a midwife,” Cumbane says. “I think it’s a good profession – to produce people.”

The first class of almost 30 surgical midwives trained in delivery techniques and advanced surgery graduate in July 2008. For the 2009 update, WIDE ANGLE host Aaron Brown travels to a rural hospital in Mozambique to meet 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.

  • Francesca Pagan

    Fantastic! Mozambique is leading the world in the reduction of meternal death rates and leadign the way in trainig midwives recieve. Watch out big shot Doctors … a movement to replace you with cost effective, hands-on, nurtuting care is in motion. This first class of surgerically trained midwives will increase the pressure OB/GYNs are feeling about being replaced. I think this is a good thing, because OB/GYNs have to realize that women want to be CARED for, not marginalized to feel as if they are physicallt incapable of birthing a child without the medicalization and intervention of a “professional” to show her body how to proceed through labor. Maternal care is to be Mother-focused, and midwives have practiced as such for centuries. It is a wonderful time for the science of midwifery and I’m hopeful to see an increase of them in the US as well as the rest of the world. Mozambique has taken the crises of too few doctors and too little money to get them from elsewhere, and come up with a solution that returns midwivery to the status if tradtionally held, as the best, safest and most desired way for women to safely and lovingly deliver their babies into the world. Carry on!

  • Robert DeLaPlaza

    A good lesson for a country like USA were the hospitals and medical profession have reached levels of racketeering, holding the population hostage of a system imposed by the special interests of a few, call them -health insurance companies-hospitals-medical profession-drug companies- you name it, and oh don’t forget the most immoral of all = Lawyers – for the only dishonest purpose of profiteering without limits.

    They have bought the system from the top with their lobbying, the worst ailment of the American government, an incurable, and terminal disease.

    I understand that to keep the advance in medical science, SOME of the medical SPECIALTIES have to be expensive.

    But what is immoral, and unethical is to have pushed the very BASIC, everyday, family practice, health care to the levels of unreal expense they have reached, putting it out of reach for a big percentage of the population with that excuse.

    The whole United States health system is rotten and STINKS BIG TIME.
    Too bad for the American people, they can’t escape from the medicine and health -capitalist MERCHANTS- and their accomplice government, but then I think that everybody has what they deserve.

    “Politicians and diapers have one thing in common
    they should be changed regularly, and for the same reason”

  • hike

    Don’t forget the largest contributor to high medical costs in the U.S.A.
    The one that has increased paperwork without increasing the quality or quantity of care.
    The one that has increased costs to the average U.S.A citizen and taken money out of our health care wallets.
    The one that wastes more resources on the appearance of taking care of the patient while wasting medical resources.
    The one that makes our “medical” lives horrible and terrifying.

    The U.S.A. government with all its vassal states–especially when run by the liberal Democrats!

    Remember, Hilliary Rodham Clinton proposed that the number of doctors should be limited in U.S.A. medical schools (while the number of attorneys, lawyers, etc. should remain unlimited)!

    Every U.S.A. citizen has the medical system that the majority of U.S.A. voters want!

    Welcome to the tyranny of the majority!

  • Carrie

    I saw this show on Wide Angle, and I am completely amazed at these women. I know that it has only been a few months since this first class of midwives graduated but has there been any news of how well this program is working? Could this be something that is imported to other countries without enough doctors?

  • Mulenga

    I am from Africa I was so happy so see those midwives do it all at least they saved someone’s life.Keep it up Mozambique.It is so true women can’t say much to their husband they can’t say no that kills me alot.

  • Susan Stapleton

    This is the kind of innovative program, and huge impact on health care outcomes that can occur when we stop protecting the turf of individual health care professionals and look at the needs of the mothers.
    Susan Stapleton, Certified Nurse-Midwife

  • claudia a rivera

    It is arrogant and ignorant to think that women in third world countries lack the ability to express themselves and have decision making power when we have the same problem in our own backyard. When an insurance company decides what medications you can take, what procedures you’re allowed to have and how much time one should stay in a stretcher, you’ve lost your rights. When a doctor decides that your labor should be induced in order to accommodate his schedule, you’ve lost your rights and your voice. I respect and admire these group of midwives for their courage. As a woman I thank them for the difference they will make and the lives they’ll save.

  • Jon

    I can’t find words to express my admiration for the courageous, intelligent, determined women who take this difficult and compassionate role upon themselves. I’ve rarely seen any documentary in which I felt love for every participant, but that happened tonight. My applause to the filmmakers also for this extraordinary look into lives of sacrifice and dedication.

  • Michele

    As a student nurse midwife in this country I am so proud of my Mozambiquean counterparts for stepping in and filling the gap in a healthcare system that is so lacking. I applaud the innovation of the Mosamique healthcare system and the concern it has for its people. Though my desire is not to be a MD/surgeon, I do have the desire to make sure that everyone has the access to affordabel reliable and safe healthcare and if training and educating all ready highly skilled health care providers to expand their scope of practice to save lives is necessary than I say go all praise is do to God and for it. Here in the US CNMs are expanding their scope of practice to include being a first assistant in the OR during C/S and Gyn surgery why not go further to include C/S in a country where the need is so great!

  • Catherine Mwangi

    Congratulations to Mozambiqe.Iam born an brought up in Kenya. My mother tells me that on the day i was born she went into labour when she was at home. She had to be rushed to the nearest clinic about twenty miles from home.She had a normal delivery but had there been a complication , chances are that i might have died or both of us might have died. There is only one doctor in this clinic and he comes on specific days. Imagine how many preventable deaths ocurr there. I am deeply moved by what’s going on in mozambique and would like to cheer those midwifes and tell them to carry on. Good job!

  • Pat

    What courage these young women display and I’m very proud of them. It is not easy to fly in the face of tradition, but they will save so many lives. Thank you for a very inspiring and informative program.

  • Joseph M. Dubé

    Interesting. However we should remind ourselves that countries that concentrate on the socio-economic determinants of health will not need as many highly trained obstetricians and surgeons. It is more feasible to train nurses to do antenatal care which will reduce the no. of pregnant women who will need Caesarian sections.
    There are countries which produce an excess of doctors. Can we not learn from them how this is made possible?

  • Moga Kareem

    After watching the program, I want to go and help. How can I voluteer to work in Africa for two? I am a medically trained profession.

  • Lauren

    I was wondering how we could get in touch with Emilia Cumbane. I would like to give her a graduation present. I would also like to make a donation to her hospital. I alone can not donate that much but I think if all the people who saw this show and were moved by it were given the opportunity we could aid in this womans accomplishments. Thank you.

  • sams mum

    What a facinating story the film makers told for us! This was a wonderful piece. Thank you! It is so good to hear that in a place where maternal and fetal health has such great challenges (that unfortunately result in the death of so many women and children), that there is hope – - a new program that is making such a difference in the well-being of that country’s citizens. These midwives will save so many lives. I am so proud of them! And as the story shows, they make such huge sacrifies to get certified. I wish all these women success and many blessings. It makes me want to get involved by donating “scholarships” or “cost of living suppliments” or something so that the choice to go through midwife school is just a little bit easier. Thanks again to the film makers for opening our eyes to both the challenges that Mozambique and other sub-sahara African nations face, and to the wonderful solutions that are in the works. And kudos to Emilia for the phone call she made to her program director in order to get more c-section experience during the practicum far away from Maputo. She’s the type of surgeon I would want operating on me if I had labor complications!

  • halima hassan

    Wow! Surely good God is great. I saw this show and though I was sad, I’m very proud of women like that. They’re willing to do anything to help their people. Any way I contribute to Wide Angle?

  • Diane Jedlicka

    I teach a course on international nursing in a developing country. This documentary presented one of the primary issues facing so many developing countries today. It puts a face and a personal story to the issue as well as giving excellent background information to place the story in context. I truly felt as if I was present with her and could see her world. I would love to purchase a copy of this to show in my class. I hope that you will make it available. An excellent documentary of the highest quality!!

  • Chi

    I applaud the people of Mozambique for their courage to take the bull by the horn and solve this global problem. Also, Kudos PBS!
    I understand the drastic need to decrease maternal death during child birth, however, I am saddened by the lack of CULTURALLY & ethically competent care for these rural women. Sterilization can result in hormonal issues and these women being ostracized & neglected by their husbands and a result the women and their children suffer more. Why won’t the WHO sponsor other options such as IUDs (birth control for up to 5yrs) for these women,since this is part of Dr. Chen’s 5yr goals. WHO, pls. do something, because Emilia and her classmates can also be trained in IUD placement. STERILIZATION is too severe for these very young women. Thank you

  • Virginia Grant

    As a citizen of the USA and mother of six, who went through High risk pregnancies, 5 cerclage, 1 C-sect. I am saddened that in some parts of our country maternal and fetal deaths rival those of many African nations. Had I not had health insurance, I would have been denied life saving care. It is wonderful to see other nations putting solutions in place. How can I support their efforts? How can we get medical supplies and a new generator to them? How can I support midwifery and bring Change to our country?

  • Jessica Jean

    I loved the program. My heart goes out to all midwives in Mozambique. You are the inspiration and the real friend to all the women you help!

  • Sharon P

    I happen to turn on the TV yesterday and this show had just started a few minutes before. I want to go there. I am from Brazil and was moved to hear them speak my same language across the globe. Such wonderful people!!! I have told my fiance that I want to go there so that I meet more people who like me speak the language and want to make a differencce. It is so sad to see that they have to use the same gloves and depend on a generator that can quit at any time. I would love the opportunity to send some money to them or collect some hospital supplies to send them for this cause. I would imagine that this hospital is there in Maputo and that they could use some assistance. I know that we have plenty of needs here in our own country, but it would not hurt to lend a little help so that more moms and babies can make it past the operating table.

  • Nan

    I also was enlightened and touched by these women in Mozambique. Both the midwife students AND the women who come to them for help. I think there are many of us who would like to assist financially to assist in either increasing the size of the program or donating money for supplies (plastic gloves, the generator). Can you in anyway put us in touch with an organization that works directly with these individuals and hospitals?
    Thank you for a program that speaks to a major health crisis around the globe…one that with some thoughtful input can be decreased tremendously.

  • Lynn Robinson

    Excellent video! But -no opportunity for the viewer to lend a hand. When I saw that a rural hospital only needs $1000 to replace their electrical generator I wanted to respond, and send the cash directly to the doctor in charge, who would purchase the equipment. Is that possible? Why throw away my expendable income on a vacation spot for a week or 2, when that same amount of money could buy several electrical generators and save many lives?

  • Patricia D. Carr

    What a joy to see Aaron Brown again! I have not been tuning in and certainly will now for your excellent programming and for his wonderful ways.

  • Rhonda Wise

    I watched this program on 7/15/2008. i was enlightened and truly move by these women and the dedication that they have. I would like to send sometype of financial support.

  • Natira Orr

    I would like to send financial support to this hospital and/or maybe even order supplies and have them shipped to this facility. How can i do that?

  • Kay

    So far, I could find the university training the women in Mozambique is called, “Instituto Superior de Ciências de Saude.” (Translation: Higher Institute of Health Science.) As of December 2007, these were the working emails for three of the physicians/staff members there, including Dr. Vaz who was featured as the former health minister in this film. They are as follows: Caetano Pereira:; Raimundo Malalane:; Fernando Vaz: This information comes from a published journal article of the three concerning the competency of the trainees. The article can be found at:

    As leader of the program and former health minister, I am sure Dr. Vaz could provided a safe place for any donations of gifts to Emilia Cumbane. I would think even emailing multiple contacts would insure everyone is kept honest.

    The power issue sited in the film located in the town of Manjacaze is proving tricky. However, a person who alerted the filmmakers of the program and Emilia Cumbane was Dr. Staffan Bergstorm at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, his email as of January 2008 is: Perhaps, he too can help in getting the details on this matter. Dr. Bergstrom’s information was derived from the Karolinska website: .
    Now, my best guess to the hospital’s name is Hospital Distrital De Manjacaze located at Liberdade Ave,
    Manjacaze – Telephone 6-1002. This information was obtained from:

    I hope everyone who wants to aid the people and the area featured do so and find this information helpful. If you find out more information or corrections, please post it for everyone to see.

  • Susan Kariuki

    I was holding back tears of joy as I watched these courageous women engage in such a good course. I am hoping there will be re-runs of this program to make more people aware of what this hospital is doing. God bless you all for your dedication and commitment to make a difference in needy people’s lives. Where can we find information on who/where to send donations?

  • Mary Aldridge

    Wow! What a terrific presentation! I keep thinking about the disparity between this great country of ours and how much more we can do in the global arena.

  • Nilton Bazler

    I saw this movie that was amazing. This is how we should improve around the world where they do not have enough support &/or resources (neither finance support)I would like to buy a copy of this movie to pass to some friends of mine to see what we can do to help. For example in one HOSPITAL they had a generator that was failing all the time and it was said to replace that is going to be ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. How can we help? That’s why I want to show this movie to several persons. That’s why I want to buy a copy of this movie. PLEASE REPLY

  • Loraine Beggrow

    I watched the program about Emilia and her journey of compassion. My heart is with the wonderful mid-wives as well as all the Medical Persons. The Dr.’s and Nurses had to reuse surgical gloves. They need supplies. I don’t have alot but what I do have I want to contribute. I want to know how to get surgical glover’s to the Doctor’s and Nurses in Mozambique.

  • Patricia Cox

    Wonderful presentation! I was amazed and inspired by what I saw. It made me wish that I be a part of the midwife team. Thank you for your good work.

  • Scott Hickling (Global Guild for Human Survival)

    I am a former police detective and rescue squad volunteer. I did those things because I love people and want to help them not suffer unnecessarily. For the United States, as the so-called leader of the free world, it is simply a worldwide embarassment (and not acceptable!) for this country not to lead the way in reducing infant mortality! Low birth weights, SIDS, accidents and other causes that may be preventable are the responsibity of an enlightened society to investigate and elimminate to the highest degree possible. We are in the 3rd millenium of human history and enjoy advanced priviledges most of the world has never experienced. Let us not say we will do better, let’s JUST DO IT!…and lead by example.
    It’s not hard. What IS hard is to watch the statistics and see that we dont seem to care as a country. God bless America? I still say ‘yes’ to that but so far, we’re not looking like a very enlightened people. It’s time for change and time for us to rise higher and see a larger picture of our survival as a species… and our necessary role as the healers of our planet.

  • Cynthia Long

    These women are totally amazing!!
    Would love to see a follow-up on the students and how to help these students/hospital on the long-term basis.

  • Cherie Tiffany

    I am a new viewer to Wide Angle and I must admit, it was initially because of a previous email correspondence (a lifetime ago), with Aaron Brown that drew me to watch this season. (Never knew the show existed). The stories are what has kept me coming back. The documentaries are of phenomenal quality and substance and as one who considers herself “a thinker”, they do just this…make me think and more importantly learn. If I ever get too old to learn then I need to give it up. Long winded way to say “thank you” for such a great series in this day of 24 news cycles that concentrate on “Who will get the first pictures of Brangelina’s twins?”…that I have no time for.

    While I’m at it I’m going to shoot this out there for future story idea and it’s personal. My son is 12 and has fairly severe mental illness as well as being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 10 which is a high functioning form of Autism. (I love that term “high functioning” which only means he can talk, joke, go to school with a great deal of assistance but he still is so mystified by the world that he cries daily and is hospitalized a couple times a year for “wanting to die”.) Living with this day in and day out is tough, but I would be interested in a more global view of how Autism is viewed and treated around the world. I only know that in the U.S. it’s a daily battle for resources, help, education, therapy not to mention the health insurance nightmare, and can’t imagine what it is like for parents in developing countries or for those in countries with Universal Health Care. Is it better? Worse? What treatment are kids getting in other countries and is there something we should be doing here? Autism affects 1 in 94 boys and 1 in 150 children here (CDC figures) and I think your program could delve into this with a global perspective and put some puzzle pieces together?

    I’d also like to mention a very small criticism (the ONLY one!) about Wide Angle and maybe it’s just me that feels this way. I’m bothered during the “interviewing phase” of the show when Aaron Brown talks to a guest when the camera jumps back and forth between guest and Mr. Brown. It seems to me to disrupt from the flow of the conversation and just when I am getting what the guest is talking about, the camera jumps to Aaron making “I’m interested” faces while the other person is still talking. He’s a great interviewer and communicator but my feeling is would be better for audience to have a (drum roll please) wide angle view of the two of them discussing the night’s film and issue without all that jumpiness. Maybe it’s just my life is so jumpy anyway but at 9 – 10pm (cst) I can’t do jumpy. Thank you for taking this into consideration.

  • Sunil

    Excellent topic and program except for the Host.Bring back Daljit since this American shows NO passion.
    How can we buy this small town hospital a Generator and keep providing money to buy diesel are some of the points that should have been covered.
    This midwifery is best done by women and local women and NOT foreign women or doctors.Doctors are needed for only supervisory roll.

  • Jason

    I live and work in Mozambique. I have not yet seen this documentary but I would love to. I have been recieving phone calls from friends and family that say it is wonderful. My wife and I live in Xai-Xai and have been there the last three years and have been visiting since the year after the flood (2001). We have been helping to provide wells in communities that do not have any water. We also have been working in the area of AIDS education and community development programs. I work with a 501 c 3 that would be interested in helping if there are individuals who want to impact these people directly with someone they can trust in-country. There is so much corruption that you have to know someone you can trust otherwise the money just dissappears. Feel free to contact me at

  • Lisa Fraser

    Who do I need to get in touch with in order to send some of the much needed medical supplies that those small village clinic so desperately need???

  • Cecilia

    After watching this show I was completely moved and excited to do something to help. I have gotten the contact information for the Hospital in Manjacaze (Mandlakaze) and I am in talks with them to get them a new generator and perhaps some other supplies. If you are interested in helping out, please email me at I have just made my initial contacts there and have never done this sort of endeavor, but the need is there and the wherewithal here.

  • Kay

    The filmmakers have heard our requests for information on how to help and are getting together a plan. From what I can tell they may take collections and even a trip to deliver the generator. I obtained this information from the filmmakers comment board at:
    -or- press “Filmmarkers Notes” in the upper right hand corner of this page.

    I think if we concentrate the efforts with the filmmakers, we can insure that all aid goes to the people you want to help. Keep checking that section on comments to see what the Filmmakers set up. It looks like a great safe way to help is on its way!!

    Here is what they said:
    #16 07/17/2008 :: 05:42:27 AM
    Karin Falck&Loui Bernal Says:
    With the help from you I would like to go back myself to Manjacaze and help the hospital install a new power backup. There is a lack of everything so we would have to bring the equipment ourselves. This has been on my mind ever since we filmed there and it would feel very good to help them. Maybe we could even film the process and show it too you on the web site.
    #17 07/17/2008 :: 05:46:35 AM
    Karin Falck Says:
    We would love to help you get in touch with people in Mozambique and find a way to help you contribute! Get back to you soon about this!!! And Lindsay! I would love to tell you more about the Swedish midwife!!! Warm regards from Karon Falck and Sweden.

  • cherie

    I agree with you Kay…I would be skeptical of anyone BUT filmmakers collecting money. Anyone can say on a message board they are going to help but how do we know? I am a cynic most days so let’s all give them some time. It’s not like clicking on the United Way and there is a donation page. I’m sure it needs to be done in specific ways.

  • Cherie Tiffany

    I agree with Kay…call me cynical but we must be careful from offers of “I’ll help…email me your money”. This isn’t like donating to the United Way with a click or two…it’s a delicate balance to actually GET the equipment paid for the right way, get it TO where it needs to go (there is probably more than a financial reason why UPS hasn’t just dropped a generator off at the hospital)…the filmakers have the contacts and will do this properly…patience people!

  • Cecilia Gomez

    Unfortunately, it looks like I might have struck some fear in the hearts of people. No mal-intent on my part, actually just an incredible need to feel proactive, I suppose. To make it clear, my intentions are pure… I have been in contact with Dr. Vaz, at the Institute of Health in Maputo and he has given me the contact name and fax for the Rural Hospital of Mandlakaze (Manjacaze in the film). I have already made initial contact, before I knew I was one of many wanting to contribute. My intention was not that people send me money at my email, but let me know if they were interested in helping as well. Should the filmmakers want to hold the reins on this one, all the better, as I have never done anything like this before. Cheers to making a difference!

  • Karin Falck&Loui Bernal

    Thanks for all your comments! It’s wonderful to read them all! We are right working on a way to make it possible to help the hospital of Manjacaze! Just to send money makes no sense since they still lack everything there. Better to organize the purchase elsewere and bring it there and see it through so it gets to the right place. In the meantime it would be good to receive emails from you who want to contribute in one way or another! please email us at Get back to you soon!

  • karin&Loui

    It is fantastic so many of you want to help!
    We have two suggestions;
    1. Purchase and delivery of equipment to the hospital
    The lack of materials is great in Mozambique. If you find something it’s probably totally overprized. Probably the best way would be to purchase equipment in some other country and bring it into Mozambique.
    The hospital of Manjacaze has electricity on and of. What they need is a power backup. Louis idea is to install an inverter, a bunch of car batteries, a charger and a switch. That way they will have a simple solution for the power backup easy to maintain. To do this we would also need the help of an authorized electrician. We the filmmakers can travel down there.
    We can take care of the arrangements and openly display to you on Wide Angles website how this proceeds! We would then be happy to get in contact with those of you who want to contribute in one way or another. We are sure the hospital of Manjacaze would appreciate help!!
    Please email us at;

    2. International education of nurses
    For those who want to contribute to the only advanced international course of ”non-physician clinicians” to save mothers lives we would recommend you to contact Dr. Staffan Bergström. Since 2006 he organizes an international education every year in Gotland, Sweden, that attracts more than 200 applicants from more than 30 countries (mainly Africa and Asia) each year, of whom they can admit merely 30.
    They cannot expand this course more at present due to insufficient financing but the need is great. Emilia Cumbane attended this education 2006. That’s were we, the filmmakers met her for the first time!!

    Please email Dr. Staffan Bergström at

  • H Anderson

    My heart goes out to the women who suffer and my best wishes go to those women who are willing to take risks and help them! What courage! Emilia is a true role model for women around the world and she shows that change can happen with one person no matter what your background. Keep up the good work Emilia!
    For all of us Americans who think we “have it hard” this should be an eye opener…fortunately I have traveled enough of the world and met women in the same dire straits to know how the world really lives. I take my lessons of courage and strength from them.

  • Jason

    I just saw the the film. Wonderful! Thanks so much for posting it on the web! My wife and I just had a child in June of 2007 but we opted to go to South Africa becuase of the lack of medical attention. Many of the places in the video we have been to and seen. My wife was touched to see some of the same doctors she has spoken to at the provincial hospital in Xai-Xai trying to get good and quick medical attention for pregnant women. TO THE FILMMAKERS: If I can be of any help to you I live and work in the Xai-Xai area and I would be interested in helping in any way possible. I am in the states until Oct. 08

  • Walter Headley

    The Wide Angle program highlighted one potential solution to the global health care crisis. I join the many voices who commend Dr. Vaz and the Mozambican government for this initiative. In our respective or collective ways donation from individuals, health care organizations, corporations, universities and health care professionals etc., must be encouraged to support this initiative. It is not a panacea but a very significant solution that if replicated would save thousands of lives worldwide.

  • Kendra Bell

    I would love to know the contact and address for this hospital. I want to find a way to get them the supplies they so desperatly need. Something as simple as a new box of surgical gloves. I want to help get money for a generator. Simple things that we take for granted everyday, is considered a luxury for men and women who are fighting to make a difference. A point of contact, an address, how can I go about helping, please let me know,

  • Ruth

    I watched this show with special interest as my daughter is right now serving with the Peace Corps in another Portuguese-speaking African country, teaching teen girls about sexual health, birth control, the importance of education, and the possibility of a career and independent life. I visted her and saw the work she is doing in conditions similar to those in this show. Like the other writers, now more than ever, I want to do something to help African women. Another recent PBS show, about a fistula hospital in Ethiopia, commented that “a poor third-world woman starts out with 3 strikes against her” health-wise.

  • Jenny Hannibal

    This film accurately and poignantly shows the issues that many Mozambicans face in their health care. There are many wonderful established organizations currently providing high-quality programs in partnership with the people of Mozambique, making their interventions sustainable. Google Mozambique, ngo, health (just to name a few) and find one that resonates with you. There are many to support.

  • karin Falck


    After Wide Angle broadcasted our film “Birth of a surgeon” we had so many people contacting us!
    Many wants to support the hospital of Manjacaze where the midwife Emilia was working during her education.
    We have done research on how to best contribute and we think rather than spreading gifts thin we should co ordinate the help.
    Our suggestion is to transfer money to the NGO (Non Governmental Organization) “Africa Groups” with headquarter in Stockholm. They have a strictly regulated charity account number – and they promised to openly display the money coming in for the hospital of Manjacaze.
    Depending on how much money we gather we will then contract a professional company for the money and let them do the installation of a turn key ready power backup. The Africa Groups also have a journalist stationed in Maputo and he promised to be present taking pictures of the installation.
    We keep you updated on how things are proceeding!!
    For those who want to help in practical matters – please email us at;

    Website for Africa Groups;

    Bank (Name and address); Nordea, Hamngatan 12, SE-105 71 Stockholm, Sweden
    Swiftcode: NDEASESS
    IBAN Se: 97 3000 0000 0300 1180 1271
    Bankaccount nr; 90 03 37-7.
    When transferring money you should mark it with “MANJACAZE”

    Karin C Falck & Loui Bernal

  • Scott Hessek, President, Global Guild for Human Survival

    This was a superb program giving hope for reducing the tragic loss of life of mothers and babies in the Third World. Part of the solution to this problem in the long term is the need for recognition that children are the ECONOMIC hope of the future. If governments recognize that every child is a potential economic boon for their society, they will strive to protect that “asset.”
    India, China and other nations have finally recognized that their real wealth is not in mines or factories, but in their “human capital.” Only “human capital” is the real asset of the future. A baby born in the USA today will earn (and recycle into society) over his lifetime about $4 million in today’s dollars. That means every baby preserved from death is worth at least $4 million. Isn’t that an asset worth investing a few thousand dollars in preventative health care for the future?

  • Deborjha

    Tomorrow is graduation day, is it not? I hope that we will get an update to let us know if all of the midwives got in their required hours and are able to graduate in time. And we’d like to see some pictures too, I’m sure.

  • anacleto abreu

    this country is best to its peolple that is why we say once you know moz you will never forget moz. i was born here i lived out but now i live here b\c its peacefull and warm.
    i work in the film industry i have done my best but due to the poverty mentality there is still a lot to be done among the majoririty that cant even live by a 3rd of a dollar a day.
    not for the goverment but for people.

  • Joy Jones

    Is there any way that I can contact the main midwife in this documentary? I have some information that I think would be useful to her.
    Joy Jones, RN

  • Sally

    Dear Karin, I’ve donated to the wonderful organization you chose to facilitate the gifts to Manjzcase. Is there any way we can be informed as to how that is going? I realize patience is needed, but I don’t want the project to languish for lack of interest.

  • Karin Falck

    Dear Sally!
    I am waiting for an update from the responsible person at the Africa Groups. She is now on vacation until next Munday. 3/11. I will get back to you then!

  • Kibibi Washington

    I am soo inspired by Ms. Cumbane’s bravery. My daughter and I watched this together and both of us have gained a new understanding.
    Thank goodness that someone there was willing to think out of the box to get a serious problem solved.

  • Paula Woodley, UNITED NATIONS, UNIES

    As an RN, working for the UN, and after traveling to Africa, I can sincerely appreciate this documentary. Thank you for a very informative, and inspiring program that brings awareness reflecting a complex issue, many developing countries face today. An excellent resource for all medical professionals, warranting global support, for a just cause.

  • Elain

    Great job, Emilia. It would be an honor to meet you one day. Thanks, for making a difference in womens’ lives. Please keep in touch.

  • Mary McCallum

    I enjoyed the midwife program in Africa tremendously.I would like to send supplies directly
    to the facility. Please tell me how.

  • Erin

    Emilia was amazing! A woman to be respected and admired.

  • Susana

    To the producers of this documentary you deserve an Oscar. Thank goodness for my insomnia I caught this masterpiece of a show at 4AM and was very proud to see how women are becoming educated in the name of saving human lives. I would love to donate money to help the students and hospitals in Manjacage. I feel we can all do this if we get the correct organization to send our donations. I was even going to write to Feed The Children, to see if they can help. Please let me know how I can help.

  • Gwin

    how can I purchase a copy of the film – I teach nursing students many who want to be midwives – I have looked on PBS can’t find a way to purchase – you can email me – thank you for a wonderful film – some of the money from the sale could be used for the mission!

  • ronald

    The first class of almost 30 surgical midwives trained in delivery techniques and advanced surgery graduate in July 2008.
    Could not the results even become increased if others residing in Mozambique were to follow the footsteps of women such as Emilia Cumbane to obtain this needed training in a location such as Brazil?

    Maybe PBS Wide Angle could co-sponsor an episode to be broadcasted on Brazil’s Rede Globo?
    Rede Globo is nationally televised media in Brazil.

    It just seems that the lack of individuals could become better enhanced by some partnership within Brazil?
    The language, dialects very similar of the same Portuguese language.
    Many other great ideas posted here as well.

  • Rhoda Curtis

    This is a superb film I recommend it for anyone who
    wants to help improve health care world wide for women.

  • Meg Wirth

    This is an amazing film. I wonder if you would consider doing a follow up story on how the surgical midwives, especially Emilia are doing.

    Meg Wirth

  • mana chuabo

    Excellent work,there were and are many difficulties in saude that is health sector.In Mozambique many tecnicos were trained to do general suregeries,orthopaedic and ophthalmic operations.

  • Jose Francisco

    I think this is production is fantastico! I LOVE WIDE ANGLE. HURRAY HURRAY!

  • Josephina Guatamalez

    Jose, you are soooooooo right! im like oh em gee! like yea!

  • Robin Jafari

    There is no doubt that the training of midwives in surgical obstetrics has lowered the maternal mortality rate in Mozambique significantly. Mozambique is in line to meet the MDG 5 goals as a result of this program by reducing maternal death by 75%. We at Pre-vent,, have adopted this model and are taking it to other countries in a program to reduce maternal mortality elsewhere in Africa. Interested parties are welcome to contact us about collaborating on this program with Pre-vent; especially the ministries of health in Africa, surgeons, anesthesiologists, midwives, surgical PAs , surgical technicians, scrub nurses, device manufacturers, surgical instrument manufacturers, and all other interested individuals and foundations.

    Robin Jafari, MD, MBA

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