Two B!RTH plays provoke debate at the WHO

News article 24 Nov 2017

CMNH was delighted to take two provocative plays to leading policy makers at the World Health Organization in Geneva on Friday 24 November.

Performances of Orchid, written by Mῦmbi Kaigwa and Q&Q, written by Liwaa Yazji were followed by a panel discussion and interactive debate. These hard-hitting plays explore themes of violence against women, obstetric fistula and the incredible resilience of women facing societal, cultural and political challenges. The plays are part of B!RTH, a global theatrical project which aims to raise awareness, change policy and provoke debate around the vast inequality in maternal and newborn health across the world. This event was in collaboration with the Family, Women, Children and Adolescents department at the World Health Organization.

CMNH is B!RTH’s lead scientific partner. Our academics have contributed their technical expertise to the content of the plays and facilitate interactive discussions of the problems and solutions to the issues raised. At this event, the debate was facilitated by Professor Nynke van den Broek and panel members included:

  • Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Adolescents and at-Risk Populations Team, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization 
  • Professor Mukesh Kapila CBE, Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs, University of Manchester
  • Dr Thiago Luchesi, Senior Advocacy Advisor, Child Survival and Health, Save the Children
  • Dr Viviana Mangiaterra, Senior Technical Coordinator, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Health Systems Strengthening, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
  • Dr. Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela, Assistant Director General for Family, Women, Children and Adolescents, World Health Organization

Orchid, Q&Q and the five other B!RTH plays are all free to download and available to use as tools to raise awareness and encourage debate locally, nationally and internationally. Get in touch for more information:

Feedback from the event:
“Excellent performances by the artists and very moving script/stories. Love the creative process to raising awareness.”

“The actors strongly portrayed real women's stories. I hope to see more plays and using these scripts with my own community! Thank you!”

“A very touching play that brought the reality so close to us. It is however encouraging to know that there are people giving all possible to bring hope to the lives of women.”