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Monday, October 8, 2007

A Walk To Beautiful Documentary

The feature-length documentary A Walk to Beautiful tells the stories of five Ethiopian women (Ayehu, Almaz, Zewdie, Yenenesh and Wubete) who suffer through prolonged, unrelieved obstructed labors. Although they survive the near fatal childbirth experience, they are left with a stillborn baby and feeling, as Ayehu tells us, that "even death would be better than this." Worse still, as a result of the difficult labor, each woman is left incontinent. In most of their cases, this is as a result of an obstetric fistula, a hole in the birth canal. According to The Fistula Foundation, "[t]he root causes of fistula are grinding poverty and the low status of women and girls. In Ethiopia, the poverty and malnutrition in children contributes to the condition of stunting, where the girl skeleton, and therefore pelvis as well, do not fully mature. This stunted condition can contribute to obstructed labor, and therefore fistula." Rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities, these women are left to spend the rest of their lives in loneliness and shame. The trials they endure—and their attempts to rebuild their lives—reveals a story about the intractable problems facing women in the developing world, including malnutrition, child marriage, and lack of obstetric care.

A Walk To Beautiful is slated for broadcast on the acclaimed series NOVA on PBS in 2008. In the meantime, find out more by visiting and

MIMI Features Related Link: Restoring Health And Dignity To Young African Women: The Fistula Foundation

(Photo Credits: Provided Courtesy Of The Fistula Foundation)