A new documentary film
released recently by Population Action International
brings attention to the plight of women across sub-Saharan Africa who lack access to basic reproductive health supplies, such as condoms and contraceptives. Funded with the support of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition
, “Empty Handed”
documents the unmet need for family planning services in the region, which has some of the world’s highest fertility rates.
PAI filmmaker Nathan Golon shot the film in Uganda earlier this year. The film’s focus on Ugandan women’s struggles in particular is with good reason, as the country has a well-documented history of providing insufficient family planning services. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, Uganda has the world’s second highest total fertility rate at 6.73 children per woman.
“Empty Handed” examines how a lack of family planning tools and services can lead to a slippery slope of unintended consequences, from unplanned pregnancies to the rampant spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The film revolves around interviews conducted with women who share common hardships as they try to access family planning from under-resourced local healthcare clinics, often traveling long distances only to find upon arrival that no contraceptives or condoms are available.
In addition to identifying past and current issues with reproductive healthcare access in sub-Saharan Africa, “Empty Handed” also puts forward some ideas for better meeting family planning needs of the more than 200 million women throughout the world without access to even basic contraception.
To watch the full film online, visit the “Empty Handed” website.
Sources: C.I.A., FHI, Population Action International, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition