Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  24 minutes
Date:  2010
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Not available / English subtitles
Grade level: 9-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Ladies in Waiting

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A profile of the Kitambo maternity clinic in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, revealing the pressures of economic forces on health care delivery in poor countries.

Ladies in Waiting

Ladies in Waiting is also available as part of the 4-film set Congo in Four Acts. Taking in the wives of the unemployed, of unpaid government employees, the Kitambo maternity clinic in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo has to cope with its patients' lack of money. And negotiations are tough between the administration and the women. As long as the bill remains unsettled they are kept at the clinic, which only increases the cost of their stay. And here everything has a price, even a birth certificate. The women's protests against their poor accommodations or their claims that their husbands' pay is overdue can change nothing. The female administrator won't budge an inch. If you've no money, you stay put. 'Hold me hostage instead of my wife,' offers one man. A long suffering manager, herself at the mercy of the system, must negotiate collateral with them: a celebration dress, a pair of earrings, a suitcase, so they will return and pay in full.

LADIES IN WAITING is an intimate, all-too-human reminder of the ways economic forces play out in even the best-intentioned healthcare institutions in poor countries affecting not only the institutions, but health care workers and patients alike.

'Hard-hitting, eye-opening expose.' -Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

'LADIES IN WAITING channels Frederick Wiseman as it chronicles the bureaucratic dysfunctions of a Kinshasa maternity ward.' -Hot Docs

'Broken bureaucracy, noise, tension, despair, and general exhaustion among all parties.' -Anthropology Review Database


** 2011 New York African Film Festival
** 2010 Berlin International Film Festival
** 2010 Cinema du Reel Film Festival
** 2010 Hot Docs Film Festival


Main credits

Tunda Wa Munga, Djo (film producer)
Markovitz, Steven (film producer)
Hamadi, Dieudo (film director)
Wa Lusala, Divita (film director)

Other credits

Director of photography: Davita Wa Lusala; editor: Davita Wa Lusala.

Distributor credits

A Film by Dieudo Hamadi and Divita Wa Lusala

Docuseek2 subjects

Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)
Health Care Delivery
Public Health
Maternal and Child Health
Health Care Sector

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Central Africa
Economic Sociology
Health Care Issues
Medical Sociology
US and Canadian Broadcast Rights
Women's Health


Democratic Republic of Congo ; maternity clinic; DRC; Congo; Kinshasa; hospital; hospitals; womens hospital; pregnant; maternity; delivery; mothers; documentary; film; video; DVD; Congolese; public; private; healthcare; health care; "Ladies in Waiting"; Icarus Films

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