Health Care in Developing Nations

Media that Matters – Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Media that Matters is an organization dedicated to producing films portraying controversial issues relevant to today’s society and encouraging viewers to work towards social change.  While the organization is heavily left leaning politically, they do have a wide variety of health-related films (see health/health advocacy section).   I did come across an interesting short film regarding women in the Congo (map) titled In TransitBelow, you can find an excerpt from a discussion of In Transit by the film’s directors.  The directors plan to make a full length version of the movie in the future.

The Goma Film Project came about when Doctors on Call for Service (DOCS—now called HEAL Africa), a teaching hospital and nonprofit organization located in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), enlisted filmmakers Louis Abelman, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, and Nelson Walker III to produce assorted informational videos. The first of our assignments was to create a small series of surgical training videos documenting vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) repair, the most common procedure performed at DOCS on any given day.

A vesico-vaginal fistula is a tear in the vaginal wall that opens into the urethra. In the first world, fistulas are rare; in most parts of the third world, they are caused by complications during childbirth. In the eastern Congo, they are primarily caused by an epidemic of violent rape and torture taking place in the war-ravaged countryside. Marauding armies and militias, some responsible for the Rwandan genocide of 1994, continue to stalk the forests and villages of the region. Women and girls of multiple tribal and ethnic backgrounds have increasingly become victims of plunder, rape, and slavery by the many armed groups involved in the ongoing conflict. At least 40,000 rape cases have been documented in the past several years, with some estimates of up to a million additional undocumented cases. DOCS/HEAL Africa is the only hospital in the region that offers a comprehensive rehabilitation program for women who have acquired fistula from rape.”