LIFESAVERS: Debbie Butters with midwife Sharon Hemetsberger in PNG.
LIFESAVERS: Debbie Butters with midwife Sharon Hemetsberger in PNG. Contributed.

Hervey Bay midwife saving lives in PNG

HERVEY Bay midwife Debbie Butters has returned after another visit to Papua New Guinea, where she works to provide better outcomes for mothers and babies at the Anguganak Health Care Centre.

Ms Butters said those involved partnered with centre staff to improve outcomes for mothers and babies.

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"We provide staff education and mentoring and some resources," she said.

 

Debbie Butters in PNG.
Debbie Butters in PNG. Contributed.

"We aim to increase the number of women who seek health care centre births through Safe Motherhood Awareness Training and through the introduction of baby bundles, a bag full of free items for mothers and babies when they birth at Anguganak or Puang health services."

"The introduction and training in the insertion of family planning implants will enable women to have children by choice.

"Ultimately family planning will save mothers' lives and ensure other children have better care."

 

Debbie Butters in PNG.
Debbie Butters in PNG. Contributed.

Ms Butters said she was thrilled on her last visit, as the staff at the centre were waiting for her arrival and she could see the initiatives they had implemented on previous visits were finally starting to become every day practice.

"They were well organised, with more people coming and people higher up in the centre thanked us for coming."

 

Debbie Butters in PNG.
Debbie Butters in PNG. Contributed.

She said their future plan was to return to Anguganak once or twice a year with the support of Send Hope Not Flowers and to link with the healthcare centre to provide safe motherhood and midwifery training.

"There is still no maternity ward, so the women who stay overnight have to share with the general patients," Ms Butters said.

"This could mean the mother and new baby are staying with contagious patients or sharing a room with me.

"The community indicate this is of significant concern and a reason why mothers are afraid to come to the healthcare centre to give birth.

"There is no waiting house, where early labouring mothers or women who travel great distance could stay in preparation to give birth at Anguganak.

"There are buildings that could be used or renovated for these purposes but staff seem reluctant to take the initiative to introduce such changes."

 

Debbie Butters in PNG.
Debbie Butters in PNG. Contributed.

Ms Butters said they wanted to provide a three-day Safe Motherhood training workshop for village birth attendants, plus a three-day health workers obstetric care workshop to be held at Anguganak in early May 2018.

"Anguganak CBC is happy to help coordinate accommodation and food for aid post workers and village birth attendants," she said.

 

"Workbooks for the participants have been sourced and copies are being organised in Wewak."

 

Debbie Butters in PNG.
Debbie Butters in PNG. Contributed.

Ms Butters thanked everyone involved, including Send Hope Not Flowers, an Australian charity who fund projects helping mothers and babies survive childbirth in the developing nations of the world.

"Sunshine Rotary, Heather Sugget and Days For Girls Hervey Bay provided 100 kits washable feminine hygiene solutions and health education," she said.

"Hervey Bay Baptist church's donations included sewing items for baby bundle bags and for Day For Girls's and making birth kits," she said.

"Other women in the Hervey Bay community who are sewing items for the Baby Bundle bags, knitting and making birth kits.

"Graphic Screen Printing provided free screen printing of the bags."

Ms Butters said there were so many donations this time, including a solar kit so the labour wards had lighting, they had to purchase excess luggage on the way over.

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