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The Doctor's Story

Life 3 - The Doctor's Story
In 2001 Dr. Gunraj Lohani trudged eight hours up a long misty trail from Diktel airport in eastern Nepal to take up residence in the local district hospital in Khotang - filled with a determination to bring change to the ailing local health services. For years, the lack of roads has kept most development and distribution of services away, and the brain drain to the cities has led to an acute shortage of professionals, especially doctors and nurses. With the doctor's arrival, things look set to change.

With as many as five out of every 200 women dying in childbirth, Nepal has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. In 2001, an estimated 10,600 women would have needed emergency obstetric care in just four out of Nepal's 75 districts. But only 452 of these women were seen by the hospitals.

This episode of LIFE explores the plight of Nepal's local health services, and links the situation to the Bush Administration, whose reinstatement of the 'global gag rule' has prohibited the U.S. government from funding any non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support abortion.

With thanks to the European Commission Directorate General for Development to promote better understanding of development issues; The World Health Organization; and UNICEF Nepal.