A DOCUMENTARY FOR CHANGE
A touching documentary called The Story Of Kam Agong directed by Lawrence Jayaraj, is one story that needed to be told. Together Lawrence and his wife Agnes Padan are devoted to ensure poor women from rural areas in Malaysia don’t share the same fate as Kam Agong.
“This story the story of Kam Agong, is to tell all mothers out there what happened to her by all parties including the state government and federal government.”
This story the story of Kam Agong, is to tell all mothers out there what happened to her by all parties including the state government and federal government
“She was such a healthy person. She had seven pervious normal deliveries. But for her eighth delivery she had to endure a C-section,” says Lawrence.
Lawrence is the son-in-law of Kam Agong, a 43 year-old woman who unfortunately bled to death after C-section operation at the Lawas District Hospital, Sarawak.
“She suffered from postpartum haemorrhage and also secondary postpartum haemorrhage. The C-section took place February 19th 2002 and on the 14th March she was bleeding severely,” says Lawrence.
Kam Agong was from Long Semado, a small Sarawak served by a neighbourhood clinic that doesn’t provide antenatal care for mothers. All women undergoing labour were advised to go to Lawas District to deliver.
“After being discharged, suffered severe bleeding and was brought to Lawas again still alive. She had severe infection in her wound and she lost a huge amount of blood. The doctors gave no blood transfusion and,” says Lawrence.
It has been a tiring battle for the family of Kam Agong. As Lawrence and his wife, daughter of Kam Agong has taken the issue to various ministries and even spoken to MPs. However, no major action has yet to take place.
“I tried reaching out to various ministries but there was no response from the government. We sued the government in 2008 and won.”
“Even now, I’ve always been advocating for better maternal care especially because currently a woman is expecting twins from the same village. What is to happen to her with no gynecologist at the Lawas hospital if there’s complication? This is our concern,” states Lawrence.
The documentary will be screened at the Freedom Film Festival that will take place from 29th September until 6th October at PJ Live Arts, Jaya One, Petaling https://freedomfilm.my/ festival/fff2018/. It showcases the trials and tribulations of a family from a poor village that lead to the loss of a loved one because of healthcare neglect.
“Unfortunately, when we went to the hospital we weren’t allowed to film or enter the hospital premises. We filmed from the gate and we had a drone shot of the hospital.”
“If you look at the hospital its a very small hospital with only 24 beds. I spoke to many of the medical officers in that hospital and doctors who have served in that hospital. They admitted that there wasn’t any proper equipment there,” Lawrence complains.
The 49 year-old first time filmmaker is actually a full time car salesman. He and his wife have adopted the eighth child of Kam Agong after her death and raised him as their own.
“What i’m trying to advocate in this documentary to every mother especially in, Sabah and Sarawak is; a proper maternal care is your constitutional right, fight for it.”
So, this is what I want to inform every mother saying look this has happened to a mother in Sarawak she is from the poorest family in the village. If we don't do something, this might happen to someone whom they love or someone from their own village,” Lawrence adds.