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Why did Mrs X die?

Watch the highly regarded animated film 'Why Did Mrs X Die?'

The highly regarded animated film ‘Why Did Mrs X Die? Retold’ tells the story of a global, ‘universal’ woman’s journey through childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and delivery and highlights the reasons why this particular mother and baby died. The woman, Mrs X, could come from any background, although she is likely to live in one of the poorer countries of the world. The film shows the wide variety of health, social, human rights and community barriers she and countless other women may face and how they might be overcome.

The full version of the video is available in the See Also section, and features additional commentary from the ‘father’ of the Safe Motherhood movement, Professor Mahmood Fathalla. He explains why so many women still die “in a 21st Century world” and calls for further action to reduce the continuing tragedy of the unacceptably high number of unnecessary and avoidable maternal deaths.


The story of Mrs X links closely to concepts introduced earlier in the week, where we heard about the three delays model. Sadly, many of us know a woman who has faced delays in at least one of the three steps in the pathway to safe maternity care: delays in deciding to seek care, delays in reaching a health facility, and delays in receiving appropriate care. There are also parallels to the supply of high quality care, where the importance of clinically effective, safe and respectful care was highlighted. This is especially important in a context where demand for care is high, delays in accessing that care are low, but the final barrier to life-saving care sits within the health system itself.

In this discussion we want to hear about your examples and experiences, with a focused reflection on what action is needed to prevent this from happening to women in the future. How can Mrs X be saved? If you decide to share real examples of practice please remember that any sensitive or confidential information about an individual should be removed.

Try reading and responding to others’ comments while forming or after posting your own answer. How do their responses differ from your own? You can ‘like’ other learners’ comments or reply to them to initiate a conversation.

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Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action

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