Winner 2009

Where Giving Life is a Death Sentence

BBC World News America, BBC America, BBC World News

Danger in Afghanistan also exists far from the battlefields of war. In some parts of the country, health care of the most fundamental sort is almost non-existent. In this report, Lyse Doucet, a veteran among journalists in Afghanistan, travels to Badakshan, an area so remote that the current conflict has not reached it. She goes there because the province has recorded the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world. One clinic in the village of Shahr-e Bozorg provides emergency care for pregnant women—serving a regional population of 53,000. At the clinic, Doucet records first-hand the risks involved in childbirth. A young woman arrives in critical condition. She survives the emergency birth of her third child; the child does not. The nurses, the midwife, and the young mother herself are relieved that she did not die. “I will have another child,” she says. In the even more remote village that is her home, the midwife there offers a terrifying explanation for the extreme loss of life among women: “Some people are meant to have short lives.” This report is presented with great sensitivity and without sentimentality. It reminds us that even where life is supported with only the most basic resources, it is precious, and for that a Peabody goes to Where Giving Life is a Death Sentence.


Executive Producers: Peter Rippon, Rome Hartman. Producers: Melanie Marshall, Shoaib Sharifi. Reporter: Lyse Doucet. Videographer/Editor: Tony Jolliffe.