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New Life in the Line of Fire

Production year: 2008 | 1*29 | Genres: Current Affairs
Far too many births in the Palestinian territories end in disaster because mothers are unable to reach hospital in time owing to hold-ups at Israeli checkpoints.
Origin country: Norway
Production company: NRK Norsk Rikskringkasting AS
Original title: Nytt liv i skuddlinjen
Original language: Norwegian
Formats: HD

Far too many births in the Palestinian territories end in disaster because mothers are unable to reach hospital in time owing to hold-ups at Israeli checkpoints. To alleviate the situation, a Norwegian midwife, Berit Mortensen, has launched a natal-care programme in Ramallah on the West Bank.

Far too many births in the Palestinian territories end in disaster because mothers are unable to reach hospital in time owing to hold-ups at Israeli checkpoints. To alleviate the situation, a Norwegian midwife, Berit Mortensen, has launched a natal-care programme in Ramallah on the West Bank. Drawing on her nursing experience in Norway, she is helping to recruit and train Palestinian midwives to provide medical check-ups and treatment for pregnant women in surrounding villages.

Out in the countryside, Berit and her team of midwives hear many heart-rending stories from the women in their care. And on their way to visit rural clinics they themselves often learn at first hand how difficult it is to get from an outlying village to the hospital in Ramallah. Soldiers manning permanent and temporary checkpoints, closed roads and a motorway open only to Israelis all help to make the journey to hospital unnecessarily arduous for the mothers-to-be. All too often they are kept waiting for hours at military checkpoints, and not infrequently are forced to give up and return home, their needs unattended to.

Instances occur of babies being born at the partitioning wall, often with fatal consequences. Between September 2000 and July 2006 no fewer than 68 women gave birth at checkpoints in Palestine; 34 newborn infants and 4 mothers died there.

Under this aid programme, which is supported by the Palestinian Committee of Norway and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, collaboration was entered into with the Palestinian health authorities and Red Crescent at the hospital in Ramallah. At the outset, the hospital could call upon the services of only one trained midwife; now, thanks to funding from this project, it can afford to employ 10 fully trained midwives.

The film was shot in 2008.

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