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The other wonder woman: India, Indonesia and Kenya’s real-life heroines

Heroines of Health, a documentary told 1 minute a day, beginning to end, on Instagram premieres today

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“The society expects us to stay at home and take care of children,” says Mercy Owuor, a community leader in Lwala, Kenya, in Heroines of Health.  At the start of each week, she sets out away from her family to travel the two hours to the local community she serves, combatting some of the toughest healthcare issues for mothers and children.

In Chennai, India, Dr. Sharmila knows something of this. She was 23-years old and in the middle of pursuing her medical degree when she became a mom. When the medical field still called to her, a series of opportunities led her to pursue an internship at a hospital and earn her MBA in the U.S. while her daughter remained at home in India. Today she cites this challenge as a big inspiration for the social enterprise she runs that skills young women to be x-ray technicians.

And in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, Mrs. Rohani nets together a makeshift ambulance to ensure any pregnant women in her village can receive care at a community health center. As a full-time unpaid volunteer, Mrs. Rohani knows what it was like before they started working with the community clinic. From the market to the mountains, when she comes across a mother or a pregnant woman, she stops them to ask about their care and take them, if needed, to the clinic.

The three women come from different backgrounds. They speak different languages. And still their journeys are remarkably similar: women who have overcome steep challenges and expectations, charting their own path, to bring better health to their communities. Stories that have in many ways gone untold. Until now.

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This week a new documentary, Heroines of Health, begins premiering, telling the stories of these three women who show what might happen if more women had the opportunity to be leaders in healthcare, and that, perhaps, many quietly, unofficially, already are.

While women make up about 75% of those working in the global health field and contribute nearly $3 trillion to the global healthcare industry, nearly half is unrecognized. Surveys show women continue to be underrepresented at the decision-making and leadership levels. As mothers, women are also most impacted by disease and high mortality rates.

Filming spanned continents and countries, as longtime global health advocate and filmmaker, Lisa Russell, traveled to Kenya, Indonesia and Africa to find out: how is it that these three women have made a difference for the health of their communities in a way the world is still striving to do? Do they hold the key to better health for the 5.8 billion people globally with limited access to quality healthcare?

Heroines of Health the documentary is premiering today. told 1 minute a day from beginning to end on @HeroinesofHealthFilm on Instagram. Viewers can catch the full film premiering in its entirety later this month.