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Icarus Film
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Ladies in Waiting
A Film by Dieudo Hamadi & Divita Wa Lusala
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Ladies in Waiting is also available as part of the 4-DVD 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 Cinéma du Réel Film Festival
2010 Hot Docs Film Festival

24 minutes / color
Release: 2010
Copyright: 2009
Sale: $248

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Bioethics, Central Africa, Congo, Economic Sociology, Health Care Issues, Medical Sociology, Medicine, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights, Women's Health

Related Links:
Filmmaker Page

Related Titles:
Congo: The Doctor Who Saves Women: Tens of thousands of women have been raped during 20 years of war in eastern Congo.

Congo in Four Acts: A quartet of short films (on one dvd) that lay bare the reality of everyday life in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Donka: X-Ray of an African Hospital: Daily life in the largest public hospital in the Republic of Guinea

Everything's Fine: Seydou Konaté is a doctor in a remote area in Mali. But he is at the center of a global issue: bringing quality health care to rural people left behind by development.

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